Event Profile

Millwater parkrun

Think of Auckland parkruns and most visitors will name Cornwall Park and Western Springs.

In the northern reaches of the city is the hidden gem of Millwater.

It was the lucky seventh parkrun to start in New Zealand, and the third in Auckland.

When it launched in September 2014 it had 56 finishers. These days it has an average of 107.

“We are an amazing supportive community of parkrunners and volunteers, where friendships have been made, health goals achieved, and all in the vicinity of the beautiful Te Ara Tahuna Estuary,” says co-event director Claire Taylor.

“Millwater is a fairly flat and fast out-and-back course on a concrete path.

“Just a few undulating hills add interest as the course leaves the Metro Park Sports Field and winds itself along onto the Te Ara Tahuna estuary.

“First timers usually say we’re a friendly bunch, who like to have fun!

“People enjoy our course, as they often get a decent time, and the wide pathways make it easy to run.”

Getting started

Millwater is one of the events in New Zealand that started because of the sponsorship deal with New Zealand Home Loans in the early days.

There were two couples who got the event off the ground, the Myburghs and the Falconers.

At the time Gavin Myburgh was involved with NZHL.

In 2018 Rhys Spyve took over as event director as the Myburghs moved away from Millwater.

Claire joined as co-ED last year during the 2020 pause.

When parkruns in New Zealand returned in July 2020 Millwater represented Italy and as a result of that celebration they now have a special connection with the European country.

Claire recently celebrated her 250th parkrun.

“When my Dad introduced me to parkrun back in 2014, I had no idea what impact this ‘Free Weekly Timed’ event would have on my life.

“I was in the UK on a flying visit for my sister’s wedding, and Kesgrave parkrun had just started.

“Dad and I had both recently taken up jogging, and this was to be my first organised running event.

“I recall being terribly nervous, and at that stage, I didn’t even own any lycra! I went along in my old trainers, t-shirt and cotton leggings, and puffed my way around with Dad.

“On my return to New Zealand a couple of weeks later, I discovered my closest event was here at Millwater which had, interestingly, started on the same day as Kesgrave.

“I turned up for Event #6 on 25th October 2014.”


“This thing called parkrun has changed my life. I am sure my younger self would be staring in disbelief at me running 5km every Saturday morning.

“I am fitter, stronger and more determined than I ever was in my youth.

“I have made some wonderful friends. Friends of different ages, stages and demographics.

“Friends from an online parkrun community, some of whom I’ve met on the parkrun circuit, some I am yet to meet.”

After parkrun the volunteers and parkrunners head to Millie’s .

It’s one of three local cafes who offer a discount with a parkrun barcode. Millie’s is always buzzing with parkrunners and locals.

“Millie’s are famous for their decadent doughnuts, oozing with different fillings and toppings, but their scones and cronuts are equally mouthwatering,” Claire says.

“They also have a fantastic hot brunch menu, and have some good gluten-free cake options too.”

While at Millwater parkrun…

Auckland doesn’t experience natural snowfall so head to Snowplanet for an indoor wintry experience.

Auckland Adventure Park has lots of fun for the family, including a zipline, luge track and a 4D cinema experience.

You can also explore Wenderholm Regional Park, Silverdale Pioneer Village, The Estuary Arts Centre, Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway (7.8km loop track), Orewa town and beach, Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve….. there’s so much to do! – Claire Taylor

What’s in a Name…

Millwater is a new suburb of Auckland.

In 2005 a number of themes were developed for naming the area.

The name Millwater combined an element of history (milling Kauri) with the area’s predominant geographical asset, water, which was used to transport the timber.

This was originally published in Issue 5 of the Runs With a Barcode magazine.

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