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Future Proofing on Beach Front


Saturday morning, 16 July was a ‘planting working bee’ on the beach front at Whitianga. It was led by Andrea Whitehead, TCDC’s Coastal Co-ordinator, with Kim Lowry of Mercury Bay Environmental Trust drilling the holes to make ready for planting.

Recreation Reserves staff, many volunteers, some children, all joined in the careful planting with specific plants having to be placed in pre- designated areas from roadside down to beach front. It was not easy work, but no one was idle and everyone was involved.

Spinifex, Knobby Club Rush,Pohuehue (Muehlenbeckia), Pingo were the plants of choice. Perhaps the best job of the day was distributing the slow release fertiliser pellets referred to as “lollies.” These were to be dropped singly down the drill holes.

All of this work is key to the building of low protective sand dunes and the restoring of large areas erosion resistant planting on the beaches.

There are numerous working bees of planting of this kind happening throughout the Mercury Bay coastline and around the whole Coromande, supported and resourced by TCDC but largely done by volunteers; in some cases the volunteer groups raising the funds for plants themselves. It is a parable of the commitment to protect the coastline and restore diversity to our habitats, as well as helping ensure humans have a long and safer future.

James Kirkwood , one of the Saturday volunteers, had arrived the night before from Auckland on holiday. His father, Tom, of Recreation Reserves had volunteered him early that morning. “It’s got to be done’ said James.

Alicia Lose, another volunteer, competently explained how the Spinifex encourages the growth of gentle sloping dunes. Wayne Moss assisted by Henry Hurley, prepared the sausage sizzle morning tea, an essential for every working bee. There are many stages to Thames Coromandel District Council’s shore protection plan and these kinds of plantings are the first step and most effective against the smaller of our big storm, high tide events.


Pictured: Holiday recruit, James Kirkwood with his Dad, Tom Kirkwood, at the beach planting on Saturday.

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