The first sod is turned by (from L-R): Mark Taylor – Chairman Akarana Marine Sports Charitable Trust; Sally Garrett – Commodore Royal Akarana Yacht Club; Keith Peachey – helped build the old RAYC building in 1952; Desley Simpson – Councillor, Auckland Council – Orakei Ward; Kit Parkinson – Deputy Chairperson, Orakei Local Board, Auckland Council.

Today marks the day of the official beginning of a $13 million marine based multi-sport facility at The Landing in Okahu Bay.

Mark Taylor, Chairman Akarana Marine Sports Charitable Trust; Sally Garrett, Commodore Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Desley Simpson, Councillor Auckland Council – Orakei Ward; Ian Ferguson, NZ Olympian, founder of Fergs Kayaks and GM for Whero Whitewater Park; and Chris Dickson, former America’s Cup skipper and RAYC member, among others, turned the sod at the previous home of the Royal Akarana Yacht Club on Wednesday, 12 April allowing construction of the new marine sports facility to commence.

The facility – Hyundai Marine Sports Centre – will actively promote and provide sports education, recreation and leisure opportunities in an environment in which people can grow and explore in and around the sea. With a public café and ability to host world-class sporting events, the centre will truly be a lively community destination.

The new centre will be home to a wide variety of clubs including Royal Akarana Yacht Club, Auckland Sailing Club, Waka Ama, Sailability Auckland, Royal Akarana Paddlers, Auckland City Tri, The University of Auckland water sports clubs and many more.

“With a vision to provide a safe pathway to the sea, to keep our children active and provide the ability to learn, participate and have fun on the water this is an exciting milestone for our founders, key partners, supporters, the Orakei community and Auckland“, says Mark Taylor, Chairman Akarana Marine Sports Centre Charitable Trust.

It is the end of an era for Royal Akarana Yacht Club’s (RAYC) clubrooms, but certainly not the club. On 30 April 2012, its members voted to establish the Akarana Marine Sports Charitable Trust and gift the Club’s leasing rights of its site in Okahu Bay to the Trust for the purpose of developing a new marine based multi-sports facility.

As Sally Garrett, Commodore of Royal Akarana Yacht Club explains, “In 1952 the Royal Akarana Yacht Club was built by ourselves, but today we are building a club with our friends. These new facilities are going to be fantastic, and what will be the best part is that together we are building a unique water-sports centre for our wider community.”

The Hyundai Marine Sports Centre will open in time for the summer of 2018.