Kia ora e te whānau o Waikawa,
Two words relevant to this time of year and this place have caught my attention recently: Pōhutukawa and Waikawa. Follow the links to pages where you can hear them pronounced.
The name Waikawa is made up of two words: wai (water) and kawa (bitter). In English I pronounce this like Why Car Wuh, with an emphasis on the Car part and a very clear, almost prolonged W in the Wuh part. When I listen to the Māori pronunciation it seems to me more like Why (with the emphasis) Car Wuh, but the second W is almost missing.
As a word nerd and someone who is aspiring to honour Te Reo Māori by trying to pronounce it correctly this all fascinates me. Take a moment to listen to those recordings.
There are some major items this month, so where to start?
The toilet block, an ongoing project since March 2022, is effectively finished. The builders are waiting for a filter and a couple of lightbulbs, and presumably some kind of certification.
It looks wonderful. The outside has been painted in a fresh and cheerful light blue, while the inside parts enjoy a dark blue floor, white walls, and feature walls that are green, blue or purple. Facilities include accessibility features such as a ramp, handrails and space to move around. There’s natural light and good ventilation. Two outside showers, a drinking fountain (with a bowl for dogs), picnic tables and an electric BBQ will keep lots of people happy in the summer. My numerous blog posts are linked below.
There’s some experimental spinifex planting going on. Can you help for a very short time on Saturday 03 December 2022 from 9 am? (The planting was postponed from the original date.)
Council workers planted a few rows of spinifex between the Miratana Track (off Manga Pirau Street) and the groyne. With any luck they won’t be washed away and instead will help hold sand and build up that section. If the plants survive, we can expect more plantings in that area.
On 03 December Craig Kidd from the Council has asked for a few volunteers to help plant a few rows across the front of the Miratana block. Same idea: if the plants survive then that’s great. If they’re washed away it’s not a huge loss.
Take a look at 2 special pages I’ve created with photos of the area mentioned below and the area where vehicles enter the beach. It uses the HDC maps and aerial photos and allows you to easily see the big changes between 2016 and 2019. I hope there will be new imagery soon.
Small dunes and bird nests are all new features in the area just off the beach end of the North Track off Reay Mackay Grove. Just a few years ago that area was featureless flat sand, but now there are numerous small sand dunes growing with every westerly wind. Spinifex is doing its job, trapping the sand and helping to build the beach.
Meanwhile, be careful how and where you walk in that area off the end of the North Track. I almost stepped on a Pied Stilt nest with 5 eggs one day. A friend has seen 3 Oystercatcher nests, and yesterday I spotted a Tuturiwhatu, New Zealand dotterel dashing around, seemingly trying to distract me from a nest in that area too.
E. Coli can be a problem in our river. Summer Water Monitoring has begun and we’ve already had 3 Red readings and only 1 Green. Horizons Regional Council have reminded people to avoid entering the water after heavy rain as contaminants from urban and rural settings are washed into waterways.
The Community picnic was a success, attended by maybe 50 people, including our two new Horowhenua District Councillors. The weather even managed to oblige and the rain held off while we all chatted and ate. The blog post linked below has photos and thanks.
Median barriers, painted wide centrelines, and side barriers are to be installed on SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin in the interests of road safety. Whatever the timeline, this is bound to lead to delays in travel as work is done.
I’ve never yet seen a Pīpīwharauroa, Shining cuckoo, but have been hearing one near the lakes in Strathnaver. That makes Bird #57 on the Big List of Waikawa Beach Birds.
If you don’t live at Waikawa Beach, then perhaps one of the properties for sale would interest you? Sold: 26 Manga Pirau Street, 664 Waikawa Beach Road. New to market: 42 Sarah Street, 16 James Street. Still available 4 Sand Dune Grove, 22 Kristin Place, 501A Waikawa Beach Road (3 lifestyle properties) and 17 Drake Street. Unknown: 13 Arthur Street.
Photo from November 2021, tiny Tūturiwhatu, New Zealand dotterel next to much bigger Oystercatcher. Photo by Miraz Jordan. Location: just off the end of the North Track from Reay Mackay Grove.
And finally, a year ago the Horowhenua District Council received a petition about access to the beach for vehicles and horses. At the meeting on 23 November 2022 Council officers reported back on the work they were to do in response. It took about 5 minutes of Council time.
It has been confirmed that broad consultation with the community needs to commence. The CE also stated the need to clarify roles and responsibilities with Horizons Regional Council, andthat it’s not just about beach access but is actually about the coastal management plan and some of the ecological and environmental concerns of the community and how that can be enhanced through a broader project.
Cr. Tukapua reminded everyone that when an illegal track was cut through the Miratana land without any consultation a huge problem was created.
There is a transcript of the discussion at the link below.
Duck and a dozen ducklings on the lake, 19 October 2022.
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Mā te wā,