Westhaven was established in the late 1930s when the breakwater was constructed along the Western end of St Mary’s Bay. A number of yachts were then housed on swing moorings. Several yacht clubs moved to the breakwater. The current development really began in the late 1950s with construction of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and the motorway along the shoreline to Victoria Park. The breakwater which is now Curran street, housed Ponsonby Cruising Club, Auckland Motor Yacht Club, Victoria Cruising Club, Richmond Yacht Club and Trillos Function Centre, which is now the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron clubrooms.
The whole area was a bit of an afterthought and was considered the poor end of the assets held by the Auckland Harbour Board. There were many swing moorings and a few pile moorings as well. The concept of installing floating berths and fingers was not high on the AHB agenda so the complete project had to be self-funded. This meant that those who purchased the right to occupy a berth, had to cover all of the costs of installation. These were added to when the Auckland City Council would not provide a road and so the cost of Westhaven Drive was added to the bill!
The first marina berths were created in the late 1960’s with the first pier outside the building that is now RNZYS, and were extended from Pier A around the bay to Pier T in the early 1980’s to form the existing marina. In the early 1990’s the extension marina, Pier T to Pier X was built to meet demand, and recently Pier Y added with fuel and live-aboard facilities.
Each Berth came with a “License to occupy” meaning that ownership would stay with Auckland Harbour Board but a berth holder had rights for a specified period to access their berth, moor their boat plus also a promise to freely park their vehicles. Berth licenses last expired just before the year 2000, and the current licenses that cost $40,000 – $300,000 give berthage, access and parking rights until 2026 in the existing marina (piers A – T) or 2029 in the extension marina (piers T – Y). In addition Licensees pay annual operating costs including profit for the management company and a surcharge for further capital development. About half the berths are still owned by the management company and rented to boat owners.
Current expansion has now closed the western entrance to the marina, and the carparks and landscaping will be extended to the end of the sea wall, with the pile moorings converted to marina berths for 14m and larger boats. The carpark on the western side of the marina has been lost, converted to commercial premises – chandleries, more boat brokers, cafes, and other businesses. The prospectus for the Marina berths promised 1500 carparks. More than 200 carparks have been lost to boaties from this commercial development. The extra demand for carparks caused by construction of walkways / cycleways around the whole marina which has turned the precinct into a public park, has meant that berth licensees and renters often have a long walk to their berth.
Westhaven Marina Users Association
Westhaven Marina Users Association Inc (WMUA) was incorporated in 1979 to negotiate berth licensee’s and renter’s concerns with Marina Management and the AHB. In 2003, when the AHB wanted to sell the marina, WMUA established a partnership with the Yacht Clubs to present a tender to purchase it. The Government outbid WMUA, and then sold the marina to Auckland City Council at a $10M discount, with provision that it remain a public domain in perpetuity.
Since 2003 Westhaven Marina has been owned by Auckland City Council, now Auckland Council and administered by their property company, Panuku.
During 2021 the western boat entry has been closed, and the eastern seawall is being widened for access to the conversion of half of the pile mooring area into marinas for 14m – 20m yachts, launches and catamarans.
Today, Westhaven has become a more popular destination other than just a place to park boats. There are a lot more stakeholders using Westhaven and wanting to have some say in its on-going operation.
Westhaven Marina Users Association reviews these changes and presents concerns raised by their members: berth holders, berth renters, dragon boaters, model boaters, stand-up paddle boarders, local residents, walkers, runners, and anyone who uses the water and its surrounds. Please become a member of WMUA to voice your views.