Aucklanders love their beaches, and this summer there is more sand to go round.
That is because beaches such as Pt Chevalier, which had barely a grain of sand to lay a towel on, have benefited from an Auckland City Council resanding programme.
The programme began at Mission Bay in 1996, but has gathered momentum since 2004 when the once-popular bathing beach at Kohimarama was rebuilt with 50,000cu m of deepwater sand taken from the Pakiri coastline, north of Warkworth.
The last of the major eastern bays beaches, St Heliers was re-opened for sunlovers at the start of summer in 2006, with 35,000cu m more sand.
This year it has been the turn of Pt Chevalier beach, three small beaches in Herne Bay and Blockhouse Bay and Taylors Reserve beaches on the northwestern shores of Manukau Harbour.
The biggest transformation is at Pt Chevalier, always a popular spot in summer with Harbour View Reserve at one end and Coyle Park at the northern tip.
The beach had been degraded to the point where it had only a narrow strip of sand at high tide at either end. The rest was largely a dry beach of oyster shells and small rocks.
The sand replenishment involved pumping 16,000cu m of Pakiri sand on to the beach from a barge moored 600m offshore, to provide an all-tide beach 550m long with plenty of shade under pohutukawa and other trees.
Work started in August, and sand was pumped with seawater to the beach through a steel pipeline. Resanding began in the middle of the beach, moving north to Coyle Park, then south. The job was completed in December.
Western Bays community board chairman Bruce Kilmister, said locals could feel proud of Pt Chevalier beach. They had cleared five skips of Pacific oyster shells and rocks to prepare the beach for resanding and now had a beach to equal the eastern bays.
Mr Kilmister was also pleased with the resanding of Herne Bay, Hamilton and Sentinel beaches and improved access, toilet and changing facilities.
He said early photographs showed people flocking to these small beaches in summer, and he hoped they would again become popular spots a few kilometres from central Auckland.
Mayor John Banks said it was great to be able to give western bays and Blockhouse Bay residents more sand and more recreational space this summer.