Tauranga’s city centre has one of the most stunning waterfront settings in the country, featuring tidal steps, a pier with bombing platform, and Hairy Maclary sculptures.
The Strand reserve runs the length of the waterfront and also features a playground, interactive water feature, and a floral steamboat.
It is a popular play area for families and a lunch area for workers in the CBD.
The tidal stairs were born out of the Access to Water project, aimed at connecting Tauranga’s people with the water. The waterfront’s new tidal stairs, pier and pontoon opened in 2017.
Head down and dip your toes in the water, enjoy a coffee or a bite to eat from the local shops while sitting on the steps and soak up Tauranga’s beautiful harbour. Wander along the new pier and enjoy the fantastic view across the water, but remember Surf Lifesaving New Zealand’s water safety messages - check the water conditions first if you want to go swimming. Please also keep children away from the car parking area and watch out for trains.
A karakia and story about Tauranga has been built into the stairs and you will be able to see different parts of this depending on the tide level. The beautiful Karakia o Mauao etched into the tidal steps, which approved for this use by local tangata whenua, tells of how the mountain arrived at its present home at the water’s edge and how the features of the land and harbour were formed on its journey. The poem etched alongside the Karakia, written by artist Elliot Collins in English, tells a different story of the feeling and experiences you have on the waterfront now.
The Hairy Maclary sculpture, created by Brigitte Wuest, is of Hairy Maclary and eight of his friends – Scarface Claw, Slinky Malinki, Hercules Morse, Muffin McLay, Bottomley Potts, Schnitzel von Krumm, Bitzer Maloney and Zachary Quack.
These larger-than-life bronzes bring Dame Lynley Dodd’s much loved children's book characters to life and create a lasting legacy for generations to enjoy. The sculpture is a fantastic addition to the family activities on Tauranga's waterfront.
The project received funding from all facets of the community - from residents, businesses, community associations and clubs. Tauranga’s three Rotary Clubs made a significant joint contribution, the Tourism Facilities Grant provided an award of $150,000, City Care contributed $100,000 and TECT contributed $180,000 to the intricate bronze installation.
The Hairy Maclary sculpture is located at the Tauranga CBD waterfront, right across Masonic Park, next to the waterfront playground.