Penguin artwork completes Oneroa Bay Beach toilets

Published on 27 January 2022

Oneroa Bay Beach toilets2 Jan 2022.jpg

New public toilets sporting images of little blue penguins have replaced an aging 1980s facility at Oneroa Bay Beach (Long Bay) near Russell.

The new wheelchair accessible toilets were opened a week before Christmas, just in time for summer holiday season. To complete work on the prefabricated, three-cubicle facility, artwork featuring little blue penguins was applied to an exterior wall of the building this month.

The new toilets replace a deteriorating concrete block facility that was built in the 1980s. That building was not wheelchair accessible, was damp, had poor lighting and required high levels of maintenance. It was demolished and, to minimise disruption for beachgoers, the new prefabricated building was placed on the same site where it was connected to existing water and wastewater services.

Deputy Mayor Ann Court says removal of the old toilet block will be welcomed by locals and regular visitors to the popular beach. “The new toilets are modern and clean, are easy to maintain and look great. And because Oneroa Bay Beach is a surf beach, we have also added a surfboard-shaped outdoor shower next to the toilets for beach users.”

She explains that the penguin artwork was selected to acknowledge the close connection the area has to the marine birds. According to legend, Kororāreka (Russell) got its name after a Māori chief wounded in battle was given a broth made from the birds. It is believed he said: “Ka reka te Korora (How sweet is penguin).” Little blue penguins are common to the area and sometimes nest under the floorboards of waterfront buildings at Kororāreka.

To ensure the toilets are accessible for all users, a new concrete footpath leading to the facility was also constructed from the beach carpark. Funding for the project came from the Council’s renewals budget.