Kuaotunu Dune planting held recently on Grays Beach brought out over 40 people including local residents, back owners and visitors to Kuaotunu reserve to take part in a community planting bee. The clouds cleared after heavy rain through the night and Roimata Taimana lead the project with a Karakia. The 400metre square area had been prepared by the Thames Coromandel District Council Coastal Restoration team. The dense weed cover on the foredunes had previously been sprayed, and then mechanically removed. Fresh sand was then bought up from the beach and the site levelled to allow the planting of Spinifex, a sand binding plant on the seaward side. Knobby club rush and muehlenbeckia were planted on the landward side of the sand zone.
Spinifex is key to dune building. Its deep roots thrive in raw sand and it is tolerant of salt spray, prolonged dryness and strong winds. In all, the group planted 1300 plants; such a great effort by everyone. The weather was sunny and warm with everyone enjoying the time to interact on that Matariki weekend.
A special thank you to Andrea Whitehead, TCDC Coastal Coordinator, who had organized the plants and preparation of the site. Andrea was joined on the day by Kim Lawry from Mercury Bay Environmental Trust. Kim helped drill many of the holes ready for planting. His knowledge of dune planting was much appreciated by all. The Kuaotunu Dune Care Group meet the third Wednesday of each month to help restore our dunes and back dunes, so we can maintain the natural beauty that we, as the Kuaotunu community, attach to our coastline from Cuvier Beach Reserve to Blackjack Recreation Reserve.