Matai Bay makes AA NZ top 3

By Mike Dinsdale

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Matai Bay
Matai Bay

Far North beach Matai Bay is Northland's favourite beach and the country's third most loved stretch of sand.

The Automobile Association has been running a "most loved beach" competition, with around 200 beaches in the mix.

With more than 600,000 votes counted - Matai Bay, on the Karikari Peninsula in the Far North, came in as Northland's top beach, and third in the country, behind Ohope in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and Whangamata beach on the Coromandel Peninsula in second place.

Ohope claimed nearly 100,000 of the votes.

AA general manager membership and brand Dougal Swift said while Ohope Beach won out at the end of the four week Facebook campaign, what was clear throughout was how important sun, sand and surf is to New Zealand culture.

Mr Swift said Matai Bay won the regional section of the voting and then went into the final, where it got 52,433 votes, with many of them coming from outside Northland.

Matai Bay beat other Northland beaches Ninety Mile Beach; Long Beach, Russell; Matapouri; Shipwreck Bay; Hendersons Beach; Taupo Bay; Ahipara Beach; Mangawhai Heads; Ruakaka Beach; Karikari Peninsula; and Langs Beach.

"Kiwis are never far from the ocean and because of that we become inextricably linked to a beach, sometimes many beaches," Mr Swift said.

"Some people have been going to their favourite beaches for generations and their memories and good times drive their preferences. While our favourite beaches might change over time, most of us still have happy, crowded memories and photo collections loaded with beach cricket, swimming, barbecues and the odd skinny dip."

The Whakatane District Council will receive an official AA sign crowning Ohope as New Zealand's Most Loved Beach. The remaining beaches in the top 10 will receive similar signs.

- Northern Advocate

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