Last month the DWA team visited one of our sites in the beautiful northern town of Whangaruru. The sunny weather was too good to stay indoors, so we left the office and headed up north for the day.

The Journey:

Whangaruru is a town just outside of Whangarei, about 3 hours from our office in Auckland. Our journey began early Friday morning, stopping in Wellsford for breakfast. The journey took us through charming countryside, which was a much-needed relief after being in lockdown for almost two months! We arrived in Whangaruru about midday, stopping along the way for lunch.

The site is situated in the Whangaruru Harbour, overlooking Whangaruru North. A modest bach is proposed on the site, measuring 6×9.3m. The main purpose of the site visit was to get a sense of the area. Visiting the site in person is always better than relying on photographs or Google Street View; as it allows us to define the key features / constraints – this results in a design that blends into its environment.


The Site:

The proposed site is a vacant lot, off Whangaruru Wharf Road. It is a sloping site, with views of the harbour to the eastern boundary and farmland to the west. A large pohutakawa tree sits along the eastern boundary at the rear of the site.

Looking East, towards Whangaruru North. The pohutakawa tree can be seen in the corner of the site.


The Site Features / Constraints:

The main features of the site are: the ocean views and the ancient pohutakawa tree to the east. The main constraints are: the steep slope and that the pohutakawa tree blocks some of the ocean views.

View through the branches of the ancient pohutakawa tree at the bottom of the site


The Design Outcome:

Before visiting the site, we had the bach parallel to the south boundary – facing the pohutakawa tree. While on the site we realised that there was a small view shaft between the neighbouring house (north boundary) and the edge of the pohutakawa tree. This would allow for an unobstructed view of the ocean. We altered the positioning of the bach to face this view shaft, still allowing for solar gain from the north.

The final site plan sketch, bach shown as orange fill. The bach is to be placed at the top of the hill, providing easy access from the driveway and enhanced views over the harbour.

View from the beach, accessed off Whangaruru Wharf Road.



Overall the site visit was a success and the team hopes to see it again soon!


Additional Information / Links:

For more information on Whangaruru, visit DoC’s website

The Kiwi Bach (Definition – Wikipedia)