A five-year journey burdened with theft and funding woes has reached its destination with the official opening of the new community hub at Baylys Beach.
November 28 and 29 will set the scene for activities and workshops showcasing the centre's capacity to be a thriving hub of community going-ons, as well as a home for beach lifeguards.
The surf club housed in the centre has shower facilities, beds and a garage space for quads, IRBs (inflatable rescue boats) and other rescue equipment.
Graeme Ramsey, the community centre project manager and former Kaipara mayor, said he was "absolutely thrilled" to get to this point following numerous obstacles.
Funding for the centre nearly ran dry in November last year until a $262,000 cheque from the Lottery Grants Board provided the financial boost needed to complete the construction.
And apprentice Hamish Cripps, helping to build the centre, had $14,000 worth of gear stolen from the site in an October raid.
"But what we have had is tremendous community support," Ramsey said.
"We are a great community and this building will act as a connection which we hadn't had since we lost the old hall."
Ramsey believed community contributions - in the form of donations, volunteering time and resources - had pushed the quality of the hub "up".
"It's funky but not over the top. The brief was for the building to fit into the local community and be a part of it, but be an interesting building, not just a box."
The build was architecturally designed by Janka Nemeth from Auckland, who considers Baylys Beach her second home.
Construction for the new building began mid-2019 but the desire for a community centre - home to surf life saving accommodation - was born years ago.
"This will act as a hub for community services and water safety, which is crucial for us. We are a wild west coast beach and what is paramount in local people's minds is having something which will keep people safe," Ramsey said.
Previously Baylys Beach was patrolled by paid guards who rented accommodation in local baches during peak season.
This summer will be the first time volunteers patrol alongside paid guards on the weekend as the club starts to build - a feat made possible with the new surf club, Baylys Beach Surf Life Saving Club captain Kyran Gillespie said.
"It has been awesome. For the last 10 years we haven't had a home or a base but now we have a permanent space for our much-needed service."
Weekend patrols will start on December 26 and run until Waitangi Day weekend with volunteer patrols starting on January 9.
The Tasman Sea batters Baylys Beach and the surf is notoriously dangerous. Several people have died there, including a mother trying to rescue her child in February.
Dylan Robinson, 13, of Henderson, west Auckland, drowned there in August 2012, and two people drowned there early in 2006 - 46-year-old Alexander Stewart and Kevan Moore.
The idea to build a community centre where neighbours can get together and foster local connections came from a Baylys Beach resident who wished not to be named and has since died.
That person had left a "significant donation" to finance the project, Baylys Beach Community Trust chairman Grant Suckling said, and the Baylys Beach Community Trust has since managed the project.
Saturday, November 28: The ribbon cutting ceremony performed by the relatives of the main benefactor will open the centre's doors at 10am. People will have the opportunity to view the facility and ask questions. Local lifeguards alongside Ruakākā guards will be patrolling and training with plenty of opportunity for interested members of the public to speak to them.
Sunday, November 29: Aotearoa Surf School will have free surfing lessons for kids over 9-year-old.
Both days will see a mixture of workshops - such as yoga and music for children - fill the building.