Takapuna too unsafe for event
The Auckland leg of a national ocean swim race is being relocated this summer because of poor water quality in its Takapuna Beach home.
This announcement was the latest in a string of growing concern regarding Auckland’s water quality.
King of the Bays, the last of the Banana Boat New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, was moving to Devonport after 14 years being hosted at Takapuna.
Since the inaugural event in 2004, ‘‘King of the Bays’’ had featured a 2.8 kilometre swim from Milford beach to Takapuna beach.
Event organisers said they had been compelled to relocate because of frequent water quality issues at both beaches over the last few months.
Event director Scott Rice, said in a media release, he refused to compromise swimmer safety.
‘‘It’s really disappointing to have to move after 14 years, but it’s something we felt we had to do,’’ Rice said.
‘‘Our decision is aligned with the fact that we are passionate about creating a safe, fun, sustainable environment for our participants.’’
As well as multiple distance swims out from the Takapuna shoreline, it included events specifically for children.
Frequent red readings on Auckland Council’s SafeSwim website for Milford and Takapuna beaches, following persistent rain, now ruled out the locations as a totally safe option for swimmers.
Auckland Council’s SafeSwim used a sophisticated forecasting model, based on intensive testing, to alert the public to the state of the water quality.
Concerns around Auckland’s beaches were also being fuelled by an increase in waterborne illnesses, chiefly the minute parasite, cryptosporidium, contracted through contact with faeces, in the Waitemata¯ DHB area. Cryptosporidium caused diarrhoea and nausea.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) said it was notified of 36 cases of cryptosporidium in the DHB area this summer. This compared with only 20 the previous summer.
The King of the Bays was the final event in the 2017/18 series taking place on April 14.
The event included a 2.5km swim from Cheltenham beach around North Head, a 750m swim from Torpedo Bay and children’s 200m swim off Windsor Park.
The King of the Bays ocean swim is moving from Takapuna, because of water quality issues.