Site blessing and groundbreaking for new Paekākāriki Surf Club

On Saturday 9 March members of Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards, local iwi, residents and officials, gathered to bless the site of the new surf club building. Elyse Robêrt tells us about this momentous occasion.

Club president Nat Perkins, SLSNZ president Jim Warwick, kaumatua Karl Farrell (Ngāti Haumia)
Photo: Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards

On a beautiful day, members of the Paekākāriki community gathered alongside Surf Club members, Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, GWRC, KCDC, and Surf Lifesaving NZ (SLSNZ) to bless the site of the new surf club building. 

The mood on the site was one of jubilation accompanied by enormous gratitude. Repeated thanks was given to kaumatua Karl Farrell (Ngāti Haumia ki Paekākāriki) whose support throughout the project has enabled the likes of the resource consent to be granted. 

Ngāti Toa Rangitira kaumatua Taku Parai provided a blessing for the site and endorsed the project as important to fostering our young people and providing a good community service.

Life member Joost Brinck, with support from young club member Lexie Garton (aged four) turned the first sod, marking the formal commencement of the build.

Lexie Garton (4) and Joost Brinck (life member) turn the sod. Photo: Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards

Speakers on the day included Karl Farrell, mayor Janet Holborow (KCDC), Surf Life Saving NZ president Jim Warwick, Jimmy Young (Greater Wellington Regional Council), Jenny Rowan (club patron and former Kāpiti Mayor), Matt Warren (club chair), and Karen Simpson-Warren (fundraising chair).

The journey to get to this point was not an easy one. Work began in the early 2000s to explore the potential of a new building, and in 2011 a formal feasibility study was conducted. Greater Wellington Regional Council advocated for a new site in the park, away from the beach. With a history of several previous clubhouses falling victim to erosion and the elements, it was unanimous that the new building be inland.

The surf club building was demolished in late 2022 after an engineering report found it unsafe for occupancy, forcing the club to operate out of shipping containers for the last few years. This accelerated an already underway build project, and resulted in a race to fund the $4.5million new building. Thanks to cornerstone funder KCDC’s $1 million contribution, as well as funding from NZCT, NZ Lotteries, Pelorus Trust, and Pub Charity, the club could continue the project with confidence.

Homestead Construction, who also built the Lyall Bay and Levin-Waitarere surf clubs, are at the helm of this project. Mills Albert are set to commence earthworks after Easter.

Learn more about the project and view the architectural renders on the club’s website 

The club are seeking donations to the building fund, and offers of sponsorship or work in kind to get the building finished. Please contact [email protected] with any offers of support.

Our nippers and little nippers – the future of our club! Photo: Paekākāriki Surf Lifeguards

Paekākā is a community-built, funded and run website. All funds go to weekly running costs, with huge amounts of professional work donated behind the scenes.  If you can help financially, at a time when many supporting local businesses are hurting, we have launched a donation gateway.