Catalina Bay has a strong military history, and has been long associated with watercraft and flying boats.
In 1929 Catalina Bay became the base for the Royal New Zealand Air Force amphibious craft, including the Short Sunderland flying boat. A number of hangars and associated building structures were constructed to accommodate the craft, many of which remain today. From 1967 amphibious craft and flying boats were phased out and were replaced by helicopters. In 2002 Hobsonville Point was closed as a military base as the government moved to free the land for housing development.
Yachting & Rowing
Hobsonville Boating Club (HBC) was formed in 1934. With the arrival of the military, HBC was retitled RNZAF Base Auckland Yacht Club. When the military left Hobsonville Point, the club became known as the Hobsonville Yacht Club (HYC). HYC still occupy club rooms and associated storage sheds at the eastern most point of Catalina Bay.
Westlake Boys High School Rowing (WBR) has had a storage facility at Catalina Bay since 1996, rowing on the sheltered upper reaches of the Waitemata. In 2012 WBR was joined by Rowing New Zealand’s Auckland Regional Performance Centre, for the development of rowers who demonstrate the potential to represent New Zealand at world championships and the Olympic games.
Both groups currently launch watercraft from the existing concrete sea plane ramp (this is slowly deteriorating so not a long term option).
Development of Catalina Bay
In 2016 the development of a new mixed-use precinct in the area known as Catalina Bay began.
The development comprises a mix of retail, commercial offices, hospitality and residential. The first phase began with the refurbishment of a number of the historical sea plane hangars and buildings including the Sunderland Hangar, the Catalina Workshops, the Armoury, the ‘GRP’ Building and Fabric Bay.
The next phase of development involves constructing 2 new apartment buildings, which will displace HYC and WBR from their current locations.
The Hobsonville Point Marine Sports Recreation Centre Trust was formed to work towards the realisation of a new facility to become the home of water sports for the greater Upper Harbour area.
This will be the main access point for the Upper Harbour region with deep water access that allows for water based activities to take place regardless of tides.