Waikawa Newsletter October 2023
Kia ora e te whānau,
Whitebaiters have been out in force the last few weeks, despite a major storm cutting off vehicle access to the beach. Initially attempts by a hardy few who braved the wind to cut a new channel for the river seemed to have failed. A few days later though the river took the hint and is now flowing away from the Miratana Track.
Whitebaiters enjoy a quiet day at the river mouth at Labour Weekend.
The track itself though has been cut off — there's about a 2 metre drop at the end and all the driftwood that was piled up nearby was washed away in the storm. The entrance is chained off.
The roughly 2 metre drop as at 21 October 2023. Note: the telephoto lens makes things look closer together — the chain and cones are further away than they seem.
In the last couple of years Boffa Miskell explored possibilities for other vehicle entrances through public land. A couple of months ago they did a presentation to HDC about their findings, then on 11 October 2023 Councillors voted to take a few options out for wider public consultation.
The options will be two variations on the existing track across the Miratana land and a third option to stop vehicles from accessing the beach at Waikawa Beach. The links in the list below contain fuller explanations. The pedestrian tracks will remain whatever may be decided about vehicle access.
A note about the pedestrian tracks off Reay Mackay Grove: these two pieces of land are designated Recreation Reserves. Under NZ law motor vehicles are forbidden from using them. Those who take vehicles such as motorbikes or quad bikes along those tracks are making themselves liable for prosecution.
Those drivers will also put the whole vehicle access at risk as a lot of people are already upset about vehicles using those tracks and drivers who misbehave on the beach (for example, driving dangerously). Public sentiment against allowing vehicles to access the beach from Waikawa Beach is likely to increase if bad behaviour continues.
Tire tracks from a quad on a pedestrian track to the beach where vehicles are forbidden by law. 18 October 2023.
And in the bad behaviour files: I was told about a recent event where a resident challenged riders who were in the dunes with their motorbikes and was threatened with physical violence. That's not the kind of response that leads to warm fuzzy feelings …
With Spring and few to no vehicles on the beach the birds are returning. The Oystercatchers are busy finding mates and deciding where to nest. The most likely spot is in the driftwood between the north track off Reay Mackay Grove and the sea.
Marked up planting areas on a map. (ArcGIS Aerial at GPS Visualizer)
After a couple of postponements a few dedicated volunteers planted out a huge area of spinifex provided by HDC. Spinifex is known for its power to gather and hold sand. Many thanks to the volunteers from our community and the HDC staff who worked so hard to build up our beach.
Baby dune with newly planted spinifex, ripple patterns and bird tracks.
Unfortunately the beach is also home to some pest species. Watch out for the Toxic Sea Spurge in the dunes.
Can you tell a Wrybill from a Dotterel? They're both about the size of a sparrow and really hard to see against the sand because of their colouring. The biggest giveaway is that a Wrybill's beak has a turn in it. Look for them around the estuary and at the water's edge. It's easiest to see them when they move.
Wrybill on the beach.
Many thanks to those many responsible vehicle drivers who take great care to avoid birds and their nests as they make their way onto the beach.
As Colin Peard said in his address to the 11 October 2023 HDC meeting (auto transcript, starting at 29:48, lightly edited and some AI transcription errors fixed):
My name is Colin Peard I'm a resident of Waikawa Beach. I am a responsible boat owner and fisherman and I'm here today to speak on behalf of the fishermen that I know from Waikawa Beach …
I can assure you as a responsible boat owner we … make our way the shortest distance to the water to the sea and park our trailers back up there, do our fishing, come back. We do not go over any flora or fauna or go anywhere near bird life …
We have never ever done damage to the beach. Now I can't speak for the hoons that come up from Ōtaki and their four-wheel drives doing donuts through the beach …
Hoons on the beach is something that concerns a great many in the community. Watch for an upcoming blog post, but in brief, even if you think it's not worth reporting bad or dangerous behaviour to the Police, please do as it allows them build up a picture for future action.
The driver of this vehicle 'explained' that he was "blind" and unable to see the yellow lines marking out the bike stand he was blocking. I wonder if he will also be unable to read the infringement notice from Horowhenua District Council?
Expanding the number of those who can easily enjoy the beach is a new service from HDC: All-Terrain Mobility Aids are now available for free hire.
Moving away from the beach itself to the broader area —
- Tim Costley for National will be the new MP for the Ōtaki electorate. His almost 6,000 vote lead is unlikely to be affected by the uncounted special votes.
- Waikawa Beach median house value is $677,050 in October 2023.
- Properties currently for sale include: 17 Drake Street; 24 Strathnaver Drive, Deadline: 26 October 2023; 41 Walkers Lane, Deadline: 26 October 2023; 34 Manga-Pirau Street.
- A new power pole was installed near the village entrance on Monday 16 October 2023 (photo above).
- From 25 October 2023 Waka Kotahi are undertaking some fairly significant road changes at the intersection with SH1. They are calling these changes
improvements. People who live here and use the intersection daily have a number of very different names for the work, none complimentary.
- HDC drafted a bylaw on Freedom Camping. Freedom Camping would be prohibited at Waikawa Beach.
- HDC are starting work on their Long Term Plan and want to know your concerns before they go out for full public consultation.
- On the weekend of 25 and 26 November 2023 there will be a couple of events at Hank Edwards Reserve to which all are invited: a free community get-together and a clothing sale to raise fund for Wildcats Waikawa.
- Reported on Facebook, there was a road rage incident at the intersection of SH1 and Waikawa Beach Road around 12 October 2023. Apparently Police won't be prosecuting. However, a vehicle that was involved was left at the corner for a week or more, prompting some to ask if it had been abandoned. Before long it was stickered as having been involved in a Police incident.
I've just discovered this excellent site that tells you what some of the objects in the sky are for your location: Tonight's Observing Guide | TheSkyLive.com. We can expect to see a great line-up of planets at the moment: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, though you'll need binoculars for some of them. Give it a try! For a wordier and more comprehensive guide visit Star Charts & Sky Spotter, Stardome Observatory and Planetarium.
- Miratana Track cut off by tides, 30 September 2023
- Miratana Track update, 06 October 2023 — no thoroughfare
- HDC Beach Access vote on 11 October 2023
- HDC will consult public on options for Miratana Track vehicle access and no access
- Vehicle access, next steps and a small correction
- Legal and illegal vehicle access to Waikawa Beach
- Spinifex planting report and photos, October 2023
- Toxic Sea Spurge signs at Waikawa Beach
- The birds are returning to the shore
- Wrybills vs Dotterels
- All Terrain Mobility Aids available for free hire
- Tim Costley for National will be the new MP for Ōtaki
- Waikawa Beach median house value $677,050 in October 2023
- For sale: 24 Strathnaver Drive
- For sale: 41 Walkers Lane
- New power pole on Monday 16 October 2023
- Delays soon at the Waikawa Beach Road intersection with SH1
- Freedom Camping would be prohibited at Waikawa Beach under draft Bylaw
- Have your say on HDC Long Term Plan
- Waikawa Beach Get Together 25 November 2023
- Second hand clothing sale 26 November 2023
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NZ Scaup on Lake Waimarie at the corner of Strathnaver Drive and Reay Mackay Grove.
Me te aroha,
aims to provide accurate and factual information on matters of interest to the local community. And to share photos of and information about local wildlife and landscapes.