The 5km loop track hugs the peninsula’s shoreline and is peppered with points of interest for people of all ages. With opportunities for rest and relaxation, play and picnics, history and harbourside views, it delivers an experience that is unique to this place.
The name Te Ara Manawa has been gifted from local mana whenua, Te Kawerau a Maki and Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara. Te Ara Manawa means “the pathway amongst the mangroves” while manawa also refers, in poetic terms, to the heart or seat of human emotions. Te Ara Manawa, therefore, describes the pathway that winds its way around Hobsonville Point and the heartfelt intent to care for both the natural environment and all those who come to visit. ‘Onekiritea’ is the traditional name for Hobsonville Point and the kainga (Māori village) once located here. It also refers to the white clays sourced on the peninsula, which Māori had several traditional uses for, including as pigments and ‘soap’.
Download your map here, grab your walking shoes and get ready to explore. Here's what you'll come across:
This 1.8 hectare area of waterfront land is known as Catalina Bay. It is set to become a new precinct which will provide a social hub for the Hobsonville Point community and an exciting new destination for Aucklanders to visit on the weekends.
Catalina Bay has been masterminded by Willis Bond & Co with the help of Cheshire Architects and will feature shops, office space and homes alongside fun, friendly places to eat and drink, including a Little Creatures microbrewery expected to open early 2019.
Initially the Marine Section. Personnel were trained and at times ate and slept there too. The Marine Section made and serviced moorings, serviced the seaplanes, towed targets for aircraft and army training. Later uses included a cafeteria and storeroom.
The Fabric Bay has been given a new life as Fabric Café + Bistro, bringing a sophisticated vibe to the waterfront with a menu built around seasonal, locally grown produce. A new deck over the water makes the most of the upper harbour and bush views.
Housing and maintenance of seaplanes and the home of the Fairey IIIF, Walrus and Cutty Sark. Stored and serviced boats belonging to the Marine Section and housed marine fitters. Also accommodated the Instrument Bay, Electrical Bay, safety equipment, and Machine Shop, then later, the metal shop and woodworking shop and stores.
The Seaplane Hangar has been transformed into an industrial chic office space. Willis Bond locked the giant hanger doors open and stripped back a large portion of the cladding to reveal the intricate steel structure. The steelwork was renovated and glazed with glass commissioned in the United States to take advantage of the harbour views.
A mezzanine was inserted to make use of the hangar’s height and increase the floor space. HLC, the company that oversees the development of Hobsonville Point and several other large urban regeneration projects has moved into the space.
The Armoury was used to store weapons when not in use on aircraft, then later a machine shop and the Armament Engineering Section.
The armoury was renovated specifically for the Catalina Bay Farmers Market and is split into two large rooms. Standing facing the doors, you’ll find hot and/or ready-to-eat food on the left and produce and ingredients for your own cooking on the right. The market is open from 11am to 5pm on Fridays, and from 8.30am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, plus the occasional night market.
Next door to the Farmers Market is Siamese Doll, brought to you by Edward and Bo of Quality Restaurant Group, who also own the well-known Mai Thai, Grasshopper, Thai Street and Red Crab. Siamese Doll accommodates an authentic dining experience that’s influenced from both Thai and Japanese cuisine.
Formerly the Flying Wing Headquarters where Sunderland Aircrew were trained. Included Technical Instruction, and later, the Glass Reinforced Plastics (fibreglass) workshop. The GRP is now used as office space.
GRP takes its name from its previous military use as a fibreglass workshop – GRP is short for ‘glass reinforced plastics’. The striking concrete masonry building features 4m and 7m ceiling heights, exposed steel trusses and giant steel windows looking out to harbour views.
Built in 1939 to house the gargantuan Short Sunderland aircraft, the Sunderland Hangar is an important marker of the huge contribution the men and women of the base made to defending the Pacific during World War II.
The hangar will be reborn as the NZ home of Little Creatures. A glass frontage will look through to the brewery vats. The Sunderland Hangar’s gigantic doors will open onto a public plaza where you’ll be able to sit and look at the harbour.
Harrier Point Park was formerly the location of the Base Commander’s house (since relocated to the corner of Sunderland and Buckley Avenues).
The park has barbecues, picnic tables a flying fox for the kids and an impressive basket swing. It’s a great place to take a break and enjoy the view of the harbour.
Soon Harrier Point Park will become home to a giant interactive play sculpture, The Eye of the Bird by artist Philipp Meier. The sculpture, an impressive 10-metre-tall pied shag, will stand gazing out to sea connecting visitors to the environment and the area’s native wildlife. But it will have a definite playful side too, with visitors encouraged to share the bird’s-eye view from a viewing platform in its head before descending to the ground via a slide that pops out at its tail.
Te Ara Manawa – Hobsonville/Onekiritea Coastal Walkway has been intentionally interrupted by these circular landscape features.
Called ‘mata’, meaning ‘eye’, they are used in this context to connect passers-by with their natural surroundings by lending them visibility. The mata invite you to slow down, look anew at the environment around you and enjoy a moment of rest.
Mata speak to the concept of whakarare, an ancient term meaning ‘to distort’ and a concept used by traditional Māori carvers to create visually interesting designs that reference the random interruptions found in nature.
Meadow Clearing has been designed as a play and picnic space. Keep an eye out for our habitat markers and the creepy, crawly critters that may have moved in. These large posts, installed both vertically and horizontally, have been primed with an assortment of holes and hollows.
They provide an invitation to local birds and insects to make themselves at home as well as an opportunity for your young ones to discover the creatures that inhabit them.
Thirteen perfectly uniform brick buildings tucked away behind tunnels punctuate the perimeter of Te Onekiritea / Bomb Point, once the site of New Zealand’s largest Air Force explosives depot.
The area is now officially known as Te Onekiritea Point following a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with Te Kawerau a Maki. The name speaks to the area’s history as the site of a kāinga (Maori village) and the source of the white clay, which Māori used for pigments and other traditional uses.
Te Onekiritea / Bomb Point is now public, open space, complete with a fenced dog park.
Bullet holes scattered across the stage backdrop hint at the history of this repurposed rifle range.
This facility served as a machine gun range for Air Force personnel, the SAS, Navy and the Diplomatic Protection Squad. The range, which was completed in 1940, was the place where many New Zealand men came to learn about weapons and practice shooting at cardboard targets.
Today sounds of an altogether different sort echo off the walls. The Rifle Range now serves as an amphitheatre for residents and visitors to Hobsonville Point. Grassed terraces provide space for audiences to watch performances while the surrounding buildings house storage areas and a basic kitchen facility.
The range also provides lawn to play on, seating, a table tennis table, public toilets and by arrangement, access to a variety of play and outdoor equipment.
This former Air Force engine testing bay has been repurposed as a plant nursery.
Operated by the Kaipatiki Project, the nursery is used to house seedlings that are grown from seeds collected from the coast. Volunteers then plant the seedlings back to the coast to regenerate the native bush and nurture and protect Hobsonville Point’s unique biodiversity.
The plant nursery is also the venue for environmental activities and outdoor education, and is visited by school and community groups keen to learn about the replanting programme.
Hobsonville Point Park forms the heart of the Buckley precinct, the first neighbourhood in Hobsonville Point to be developed.
Before we began building homes here in 2010 we created the park and playground, Catalina Café and in an old Air Force shed adjacent to the café, the first Hobsonville Point Farmers Market. Having these amenities gave us an excuse to invite Aucklanders to come and visit. We wanted people to not only explore, but feel welcome in an area which, for 80 years, the public had been locked out of. The playground, which has gone on to win awards for its innovative design, Catalina Café and the Farmers Market (now located on the waterfront at Catalina Bay) have become important social hubs for the community.
This bush-clad dip in the land is Isitt Gully, named after Captain Leonard (Len) Isitt who became the first Commanding Officer of the Hobsonville airbase in 1928.
The 35m long West Sunderland Bridge spanning the gully is curved so that you can see its elegant timber and steel structure as you approach it. The height of the bridge is 6m at its furthest point from the gully floor. The bridge has been designed to give you an experience of being in the treetops and amongst the birdlife. Fern trunks incorporated into the bridge’s design provide a visual link between the structure and its surrounds. From the middle of the bridge you can see Herald Island across the Upper Harbour.
Here you'll find the Cochrane Gully, named after Wing Commander the Honourable Ralph Cochrane who became the first Chief of Air Staff at the Hobsonville Air Base in 1936.
The East Sunderland Bridge which spans the gully is 98m long. The bridge is designed to raise users above the ground to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the bush below and water views of Te Okoriki Inlet (meaning “the little basin”) with its mature pohutakawa trees.
At the eastern end of the bridge, where the pathway rises towards Mill House, construction workers discovered a midden. This evidence of pre-colonial occupation has been acknowledged by incorporating shell from the midden into the pavement at its original location.
This memorial garden and bench seat mark the site of the former Hobsonville Base chapel.
The area was once home to Saint Mark’s Chapel, built in 1942 in the style of neighbouring Mill House. The small place of worship offered church services, baptisms and weddings for about 80 worshippers – mainly local families and Air Force personnel – for some years. In 2005 it was relocated to Papakura Military Camp, leaving in its place a rose garden and commemorative plaque. Now a new garden and plaque provide a fresh connection to the site’s history. Planted in the shape of a cross, the garden’s design speaks to the religious retreat once provided here. The garden was designed by a small group of local people who now maintain it.
One of Hobsonville Point’s oldest buildings will be home to some of the area’s youngest residents, with the conversion of the historic Mill House into a Bear Park childcare centre. But a stroll past the homestead and its grounds still evokes times gone by.
Construction of the distinctive homestead began in 1929 for Doug and Audrey Mill. In 1941 the homestead was incorporated into the neighbouring Air Force base. Surrounding land was used for Air Force housing while the house itself became part of the Hobsonville Officers Mess.
Today Mill House has a new lease on life, having undergone an extensive renovation. Soon its hallways will ring with the sound of laughter as some of Hobsonville Point’s youngest residents continue to enjoy one of the area’s historic buildings.
It was built in about 1927 by Doug and Audrey Mill as a modest makeshift home while their larger, permanent house was built next door.
When Mill House was absorbed into the Air Force base with the arrival of the Second World War, Chichester Cottage was also repurposed. As the surrounding base teemed with personnel, the cottage saw action as newly married quarters, female officer accommodation and later as a staff room.
Today, it has been lovingly restored and is owned by the Hobsonville Point Residents Society. The cosy cottage nestled amongst the trees will be used by the community as a venue for meetings and events.
Take a small detour off the walkway and be rewarded with harbour views from the Old Wharf Lookout.
The timber and steel lookout is cantilevered over the cliff edge and offers a great view of the harbour. The lookout sits above the site of Hobsonville Point’s old wharf. While the original structure has gone, the approach to the lookout is marked with a row of timber posts, recalling the old jetty’s skeletal form.
The old house above the cliff edge is one of four gracious waterfront homes built to house officers and their families on the base. The homes are being restored by Winton as part of their development of Launch Bay.
Launch Bay will include a mix of apartments, townhouses and standalone homes across a 4.2 hectare area surrounding Marlborough Oval, which was once the Air Force’s formal parade ground, with access strictly limited unless on parade.
The Married Officers houses are being made ready to be sold, allowing the new owners to renovate the interiors to their taste. The houses will come with consented plans for extensions to protect the view shafts to the water for other residents.
Hobsonville Point’s new community garden gives residents a place to indulge their love of gardening, share information and resources, and meet and get to know their neighbours.
The shared garden, which includes 29 plots, a composting area and a communal herb bed and fruit trees. Plots are available for Hobsonville Point residents and families to grow fresh vegetables while the herbs and fruit are there for all to use and enjoy.
The garden is underpinned by an ethos of sustainability, meaning that composting, organic fertilisers and pest control ensure it is a safe space for people, plants and the planet alike.
There are big plans for the facility’s future. In time, the vision is to add more garden plots; a barbeque and seating area; a shed with shared tools; a potting table; shade for seedlings; and a designated area where people can help themselves to excess produce shared by plot-holders.
The garden has been funded by Waterford on Hobsonville Point, the Upper Harbour Local Board and HLC.