Now though Onehunga has nine new beaches – three of them sandy.
It has 10 new rocky headlands that lead up to gentle hills decorated with 40,000-odd native plants and some lovely park benches.
There’s a carpark – winding walking tracks and a boat ramp with a freshly-dredged channel into the muddy Manukau.
All this is built on a 6.8-hectare strip of freshly reclaimed land that runs along the motorway’s southern flank.
It’s as if someone sliced the old foreshore off with a Stanley knife and hid it in a bottom drawer for 40 years – before taking it out and gluing it back on to the edge of the motorway – where it can once more feel the tides come and go.
Sure there’s still that honking great motorway between Onehunga and the new water’s-edge – but there’s also a wide beautifully wood-lined footbridge across it – which lets you stroll from ‘burb to beach while almost forgetting the stream of vehicles beneath your feet.