Tīhema (December) 2020 WBRA Newsletter

Kia ora e te whānau,
It’s been wet. Very wet: about 132 mm of rain since the last newsletter 4 weeks ago. Oh, and warm, so all the lawns and weeds and veges have been growing like anything.

In this newsletter we have several water-themed items. But first a few quick notes.

  1. Quick notes
  2. Awa Pukapuka
  3. River news
  4. Beach news

Quick notes

  • The Footbridge will be closed 23 December 2020 for tree work. No more than 10 people are allowed on the bridge at any one time, for safety reasons. See Footbridge safety measures from December 2020.
  • The Australasian Bittern is an extremely cryptic and rarely seen native bird on the Nationally Critical list. There’s at least one that calls Waikawa Beach its home though — most recently spotted crossing Strathnaver Drive.
  • A couple of Variable Oystercatchers have nests just south of the river. Please watch out for and avoid their nests when you’re on the beach. The eggs are surprisingly large too — think hen’s egg.
  • Our Summer Events are on this year as usual. Do join in! Bring any guests. You don’t have to be a member of the WBRA to take part.
  • The Recycling Station has arrived. See Recycling Station update Summer 2020-21 for details.
  • There are no properties for sale in the village or Strathnaver, but there are some building works going on.
  • The intersection of Walkers Lane and Waikawa Beach Road has been resurfaced.
  • Dangerous trees were removed at the village entrance recently.
  • Our new Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi made her Maiden Speech in Parliament.
  • In the last few weeks there has been a spate of accidents near Ōhau, meaning the road has been blocked several times.
  • Ready for the AGM on Sunday 27 December 2020 at 3pm? Check WBRA 2019 AGM Draft Minutes beforehand. Handy phrase for the month: Āhea te AGM e tīmata ai? Ā te toru karaka te hui e tīmata ai. (What time does the AGM start? The meeting starts at 3 o’clock.)

Oystercatcher eggs in a scrape in the sand.
Oystercatcher eggs in a scrape in the sand.

Awa Pukapuka

Have you heard of or used a Little Free Library? They’re a great way for a community to share books and other things like DVDs or games. Community members Anja and Theo made a library out of a boat as a Covid-91 Lockdown project. Read more and see if you can help at Awa Pukapuka — a community asset.

River news

It’s been all go around the river and beach recently.

There’s the team walking the river to help the fish and whitebait. It’s a Horizons Regional Council project that aims to increase native fish numbers and distribution, improve aquatic habitat, and increase kākahi (freshwater mussel) populations. Their work clearing away things like weirs that stop whitebait and eels from freely moving along the river is very welcome.

Meanwhile, in another approach to improving the river, a team contracted by Horizons Regional Council has surveyed the river’s depths, finding that there are too many nutrients, and they are causing problems for fish and other river life. Read more at The quality of water in Waikawa River isn’t very high.

The regular summer monitoring for E. Coli is ongoing. So far this season there have been 7 measurements, with 3 red, 1 orange and 3 green results.

Beach news

Let’s start with an increased Police presence to help stop bad behaviour on Horowhenua beaches. Police will particularly focus on safe speeds and on handling the ‘dance’ between vehicles and pedestrians. Read more at We’ll be seeing Police on the beach this summer.

And speaking of vehicles on the beach, a big topic of conversation amongst locals in the last couple of weeks has been the car in the river.

A red people mover appeared stuck in the sand at the sea’s edge on 04 December 2020. It had been there for a day by the time police arrived. With loads of rain, wind and big seas (4 metre waves) over that time it couldn’t be removed. See Watch out for big waves 03 and 04 December 2020 and The perils of driving on the beach.

Finally, some 10 days later the weather fined up and a digger contracted by Horowhenua District Council turned up to excavate the car that was now on the north bank of the river which had helpfully moved south. Digging it out of its hole was a piece of cake. Not so getting it off the beach! Do read the story, with photos and videos, at A bit of an odyssey. Don’t miss the video of the roof flying off!

Wrecked Honda Odyssey by Manga Pirau Street beach entrance.
Wrecked Honda Odyssey by Manga Pirau Street beach entrance.

WBRA Subscriptions are due now

You know this by now: WBRA subscription $25 per year. Please pay up. 😀 Your support helps us work on behalf of the community. See Subs form to give us your updated contact details and Become a member for how to pay.

Ngā mihi nui,
Miraz Jordan

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