Wednesday, 26 February 2020


Two Whitianga locals recognised for seabird smart fishing

"The winners of this year’s Seabird Smart Awards are the sustainable future of New Zealand fishing," said Bill Mansfield, chairman of the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust at the announcement of the Seabird Smart Awards winners at Parliament last night.

Two Whitianga commercial fishermen were among those who were recognised for their work in the area of seabird smart fishing.

The awards were announced by the Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry. Two of the four recipients are Whitianga-based.

“New Zealand is known as the seabird capital of the world. As the breeding grounds for a third of the world’s seabird species, we have an international responsibility to ensure their long-term survival,” Mr Mansfield said.

“Each of the four winners is an environmental champion and they are leading the way in reinforcing the importance of seabird smart fishing practices amongst the fishing industry. Their passion and actions have positively affected the attitudes and behaviour of others in their fleets. We want to recognise them and thank them for their vision and their work.

“Both the main winners, Tom Searle of Leigh Fisheries and Mike Black of Talley’s, have influenced the behaviour of a whole fishing fleet and through their leadership have made a significant contribution to seabird conservation.

“As a fisher, Wayne Dreadon of Whitianga has championed fishers working collaboratively with government and environmental groups and fisheries observer Jamie Williamson, also of Whitianga, has given fishers a new appreciation of the seabirds they see every day around their vessels.”

Wayne won a Special Recognition Award and Jamie a Government Observer Award.

The Seabird Smart Awards are supported and sponsored by Sealord Group, Deepwater Group, Ministry for Primary Industries, Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Aotearoa Fisheries, Harbour Holdings Ltd and the Federation of Commercial Fishermen. The awards are run by the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust and held every second year. 

Whitianga Police Report for Monday 9 November to Monday 16 November 2015


A lot of domestics attended this week for our area, with nine incidents being the most I can remember in a week for some time.

Alcohol as usual played a major part and Police advice is that people should not try and sort out relationship issues when they are drunk.

Taking time apart to calm down and consider your actions is also advised so that incidents don’t get out of hand in the heat of the moment.


9th - 1 x 25yr old local man for Male Assaults Female x 2.

11th - 1 x 25yr old local man for Failing to Attend Court.

13th - 1 x 22yr old Thames man for Failing to Attend Court.

16th - 1 x 21yer old local man for Poss. Of an Offensive Weapon and Threatening to Kill.


Nine domestic incidents attended this week.

On the 9th we attended a Cook Drive address and arrested a man as listed, while also that day we attended a Catherine Crescent address where two brothers were arguing and we encouraged the family to discuss issues.

Another incident attended that day involved a family at a Jacaranda Place address arguing over the television and they were encouraged to discuss wider issues.

On the 11th a couple in an on-off relationship argued about their situation at an Annette Place address and they agreed to return to their own addresses and calm down. Another couple who had been out drinking on the 11th were spoken to at a Buffalo Beach Road address and they had already planned to spend the night apart to consider their relationship.

A young boy argued with his grandparents at a Cook Drive address on the 12th and he was given direct advice, while on the 13th a separated couple argued at a Wharekaho Crescent address about the custody of their children and they were told to consider text messages before sending them.

We attended two more domestics on the 15th, where men were unhappy about their ex-partners’ new relationships and they both were given sound advice, with one man receiving a Police Safety Order to keep him away from the area.

On the 9th two boys aged 9yrs and 12yrs were caught stealing from a Lee Street store and they have been referred to Youth Aid.

Tools and diesel were stolen from a residential address on SH25, Whitianga overnight on the 12th.

On the 13th a landlord was forwarded threatening text messages by his ex-boarder and he was warned for his actions, while on the 14th a man sleeping in his car was woken by two men throwing objects at his car on The Esplanade.

Also on the 14th a car was damaged at Cathedral Cove and an offensive note left on the vehicle about parking.


No drunk drivers apprehended this week.

11th - 1 x 28yr old local woman apprehended for driving whilst suspended and her car was impounded.  

TCDC cracking down on rubbish dumping

Thames Coromandel District Council says changes to the way they charge fines for littering is one of the steps being taken to crack down on fly tipping.

TCDC’s Litter Policy sets out how they manage littering on the Coromandel Peninsula. This includes infringements and how best to enforce the policy.

The current Litter Policy sets infringements based on volume in litres, which is difficult to measure in the field. The proposed changes are a more straightforward way to enforce the rules around littering. These are based on what and where litter is found rather than how much of the litter there is.

The proposed litter infringement provisions are -

  • Deposited or left litter in a public place - $100
  • Deposited or left litter in a private place without consent - $100
  • Deposited or left dangerous litter in a public place - $400
  • Deposited or left dangerous litter in a private place without consent - $400

Section 15 of Litter Act 1979 defines dangerous litter as, “Litter deposited of such a nature as is likely to endanger any person or to cause physical injury or disease or infection to any person coming into contact with it (being in particular any bottle whether broken or not, glass, article containing glass, sharp or jagged material, or any substance of a toxic or poisonous nature).”

A new Rubbish Fly Dumping Enforcement Strategy is also being planned and TCDC says they intend to take the following actions to act as a deterrent to intentional rubbish dumping on the Coromandel -

  • Significant rubbish dumping will be investigated with a view to prosecuting under the Litter Act 1979 or with fines available up to $20,000.
  • Name and shame in the media anyone convicted through the courts.
  • Instigate a "Dob in a Dumper" hotline either through the TCDC 24-hour call centre or online.
  • Lift the Peninsula’s "Clean and Green" profile and send a clear message that anyone identified littering or dumping rubbish on the Peninsula will face legal action.
  • Provide additional monitoring of dumping sites by compliance officers.
  • Work with their contractors and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) to ensure investigations are undertaken and sites cleaned.

Specific problem areas are now being monitored and the TCDC compliance officers have identified several individuals associated with previous rubbish dumping incidents through evidence located within the rubbish and inquiries are continuing.

TCDC says they’ve also started initial work with Keep NZ Beautiful and NZTA and they are approaching the Deprtment of Conservation and surrounding local councils to see if they want to partner in raising the profile against littering and illegal rubbish dumping.

Sloped energy-absorbing wall for Cooks Beach

The construction of a sloped rock energy-absorbing wall at the Purangi Reserve in Cooks Beach, which will blend into the existing rock wall, is being supported by the Mercury Bay Community Board.

A wall is needed to protect the reserve (the waterpump station, stormwater reticulation and to a lesser extent at this present time, Captain Cook Road) from the effects of coastal erosion.

Since June 2013 up to 10m of the Reserve has been lost to erosion and resulted in the relocation of the Cook monument, the loss of the public sea, and the threat of inundation of the public wastewater pump station located within the reserve.

Resource consent for the revetment wall will be publicly notified.

Trial groyne for Buffalo Beach

A wooden groyne is to be trialled at Buffalo Beach in Whitianga, off the end of the already completed stage two rock seawall.

Thames Coromandel District Council says they expect the groyne will promote enough sand build-up towards the north of the beach to negate the construction of a further rock seawall as well as allow for more dune planting.

The structure will be designed to allow for pedestrian access, so people can still walk along the beach unimpeded.

Stage two construction of the Buffalo Beach rock seawall was completed earlier in 2015 between the public toilets and the Buffalo Memorial site. There is resource consent on hand for stage 3 of the rock seawall, which could extend the wall further if required.

Engineering company Tonkin and Taylor has been commissioned to design and obtain resource consent for the trial groyne, which could allow it to stay in place for up to five years. This timeframe is considered appropriate as it will allow for sufficient monitoring so TCDC can measure its benefits.

A draft Assessment of Effects on the Environment (AEE) has also been undertaken, recommending the groyne be made out of timber and extending approximately 25m out from the end of stage two of the rock wall at the Buffalo Memorial.

“A groyne of wooded piling and lagging will provide the desired flexibility and essentially allow a physical model to be developed at the site,” says TCDC’s Acting Mercury Bay Area Manager Allan Tiplady.

“Other types of groyne structures were looked at, including rock and gabion bag, but the wood was decided on as the final option because it can extend in height compared to other structures.”

It’s planned that construction will involve driving piles into the foreshore when the area is not inundated by seawater. A trench approximately 4m wide will then be excavated to approximately 1m below the foreshore level to create the necessary space and self-retaining slope to construct the timber lagging. The lagging will then be fixed to one side of the piles and geotextile will be laid on the inner face of the lagging.

To remove the structure, this process will be reversed and machinery will lift and remove the piles as the last step. “If the trial’s successful, we could look at commissioning a design for a permanent structure, obtain the necessary coastal permits and install the structure,” says Mr Tiplady.

During this time a study being conducted by Waikato University on the Mercury Bay/Whitianga Harbour delta hydrodynamic research will also be complete, which will also help to make long-term decisions.

Consultation on proposed Dog Control Policy and Bylaw opened today

Thames Coromandel District Council is reviewing their Dog Control Policy and Dog Control Bylaw and their proposals have today been released for consultation until 7 December 2015.

TCDC says the policy and bylaw were made in 2004. However, their review has identified that improvements can be made to make the policy and bylaw more robust as well as easier to read and understand.

The current review is the result of work done in 2013 and 2014, including previous submissions. The extent of changes TCDC is now proposing means they want to give the community another opportunity to have input. TCDC says making a submission this time is just as important as last year.

Thousands of dogs are on the Coromandel Peninsula at any given time. TCDC says they aim to provide reasonable rules for dog owners, while promoting a safe and healthy environment.

Some relevant matters for the Coromandel that have been considered in preparing the proposals include -

  • Protection of wildlife, including the endangered New Zealand dotterel and migratory birds.
  • Popularity of district beaches for people during summer.
  • Appropriate dog exercise areas around the district.
  • Consideration of the needs of locals and visiting dog owners in relation to rules that are easy to understand, such as generally consistent date and time restrictions and rules for main streets and town centres across the Peninsula.

The proposals can be read online on the TCDC online consultation portal where submissions can be made. Copies of the proposals and submission forms are also available at the TCDC area offices.

Until the adoption of a revised policy and a revised bylaw, the current rules apply.

Tsunami readiness report for Whitianga

A report on the effects of the 1960 Chilean tsunami on Whitianga provides a good indication of where Whitianga would likely be inundated if it were to experience a similar distant tsunami today.

The report, prepared by Brendan Morris and Jose Borrero for Waikato Regional Council, is a unique opportunity to combine the experiences of local eyewitnesses with historical verbal and written accounts, recent survey information and computer-generated tsunami modelling information.

"We had the opportunity to talk with five local eyewitnesses who were there on the night and conduct onsite visits all around the town and harbour," says Brendan, who is the project manager for the eastern Coromandel tsunami strategy.

"The report gives us further verification of recent tsunami modelling work, which will help to better identify likely tsunami inundation areas for other areas around the Coromandel.”

Gary Talbot, manager of the Thames Valley Emergency Operating Area, said that the report will raise community awareness about tsunami hazards and the importance of understanding the source of the tsunami. “Distant source tsunami such as those coming from South America, take more than 12 hours to reach Whitianga and do not present a significant risk to land. The main effects of distant tsunami are strong currents in the marine environment, especially within the harbour and around stream entrances.

“Our biggest tsunami risks are from local sources such as the Tonga-Kermadec Trench that reach Whitianga in about one hour. That’s why it is important to move quickly to higher ground or inland if you feel a long or strong earthquake

"The recent Chilean earthquake highlighted the need for our coastal communities to understand the difference between distant and local source quakes and the effects they have on our environment.”

Purangi Road crash victim named

The person who died in a crash on the one-lane Purangi Road bridge between Cooks Beach and Whenuakite on the evening of 29 October has been formally identified as 27-year-old Benjamin Charles Rose.

Police investigating the crash said they have more questions than answers.

Waikato Road Policing Manager Inspector Freda Grace said another motorist came across the scene shortly after the crash happened.

"A motorist driving on to a bridge was unable to avoid debris and suffered two punctured tyres and on investigating he saw the brake-lights from a vehicle semi submerged in a stream.

"This incident is still under investigation by the serious crash unit who are working to determine what occurred."

Initial indications showed Mr Rose was travelling north on Purangi Rd, towards Cook's Beach, when his vehicle failed to negotiate a bend and went through a wooden barrier immediately before the bridge.

“The car flipped as it dropped into the stream,” Ms Grace said.

“We are awaiting toxicology results to determine what, if any, part alcohol may have played in the crash and checking the road worthiness of the vehicle which hadn't been registered or held a warrant of fitness since 2012.

"While expressing the Police's sympathies to Mr Rose's family, it's still important to highlight the need for both vehicles and drivers to be fit for the road at all times.

"To not be at your best or by being behind the wheel of a vehicle that is not certified as road worthy can put your life and the life of other road users at risk and it's simply not worth it.


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Did TCDC do the right thing to make Whitianga subject to a total watering ban during the busy summer holiday season?

The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.