Fond memories of the Kai Iwi Lakes has seen an Auckland business owner lead a project to develop an exciting new children's playground at the popular resort.
Ross Archer of Playco teamed up with Joe Moores from Commercial Play Systems to offer the Kaipara District Council a substantial discount for new playground equipment at the Domain's Pine Beach.
Mr Archer said he first visited the lakes more than 50 years ago in his grandfather's bus, after a six-hour drive from Auckland. He recalls up to 20 people camping in the bus at one time. His memories include "barefooting around the lake at dusk", searching for koura at night, sociable evenings and water skiing.
Since then, four generations of Archers have enjoyed the tranquillity and pristine water, and have camped at Taharoa Domain up to five times a year.
Based on his own travel experience he believed he was qualified to rate Kai Iwi Lakes as a "best in the world location" and was proud to have introduced them to many friends.
"I personally wanted to give back to this area that had given so much to me," he said.
Support was gained from the Kaipara District Council's and Joe Moores, who does specialised work on some of the council's playgrounds.
Mr Moores said he became involved because he felt the domain deserved better than the outdated swings, but recognised the council probably had higher playground priorities elsewhere.
Domain Ranger Dave Bolland and Camp Manager Andrew Howells built the safety surface surrounds and installed the cushion-fall safety surfacing.
"This will give children something to do away from the water or when conditions don't suit swimming," Mr Howells said. "I think it will prove very popular."