A new sea wall - Misc. NZ
A new sea wall

A new sea wall

In the 1930s, Auckland Stonemasons’ Len and Jim Lavas' grandfather was involved in building the original Tamaki Drive sea wall...

Words by Auckland Stonemasons

In the 1930s, Auckland Stonemasons’ Len and Jim Lavas' grandfather was involved in building the original Tamaki Drive sea wall. Then, almost eighty years ago, he used rocks from Mount Wellington to build the feat of engineering that still remains.

Today, Len & Jim Lavas and their team of experienced stonemasons utilise their knowledge of the sector and continue his grandfather’s tradition. Nearly a century later, Jim found himself down at Tamaki Drive, managing the development of a new sea wall – 10 metres further out than the original – to accommodate the widening of the walk and cycleway and road beside it.

“In the 1930s, they used basalt from Mount Wellington, and we used the same rocks to create the new wall,” Len says. And that wall will remain in place, still as strong as it was when it was built.

Tamaki Drive sea wall

The edge of the new wall stands ten metres further out; between the two is a dry rock wall, which acts as the core of the structure. “We then blind that off with high strength concrete and then built a stone facing over it,” Len says.

Incorporated in the new project is 3,000 cubic metres of rock, which was donated by Transpower after the company installed some underground cabling and found themselves with a hefty quantity of rock.

The entire project consisted of 1,900 square metres of stone facing, 3,200 cubic metres of rock core, and 250 cubic metres of concrete bindings. The entire project took seven months to complete. 

The new sea wall will allow for a wider and separated walk and cycleway, a promenade with seating, as well as an additional lane on the road itself

Tamaki Drive sea wall

The tidal setting meant the project had its complexities, but not for long, Len says. “When we were blinding the dry stone core, we had to start at low tide but as you quickly get to higher levels, the tides don’t make as much difference.”

The very prominent project was a pleasure to work on, Len says, not only because of the family history. “It was great to be able to do all the design work and then build to our design.” The completed project stretches 200 metres towards Mission Bay from Ngapipi Road, and up Ngapipi Road to the boat sheds.

Auckland Stonemasons is involved in a host of other projects around the North Island currently, including the Marsden Cove Canal Marina Development, the Whitianga Waterways, a stone lodge at Karaka, a stone home in Riverhead, and the world-class International Showjumping Centre at Karapiro, which has recently been completed.

If you’re considering building with stone, visit Auckland Stonemasons on ArchiPro here to view some of their latest standout projects.

Tamaki Drive sea wall
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