Spinifex superpowers

For several consecutive years now Horowhenua District Council has contributed plants and labour, together with Waikawa Beach community members, to plant spinifex and pīngao in an area by the north track of Reay Mackay Grove. Take a look at this photo of empty sand from back in January 2014.

Boardwalk through dunes with no plants.
Boardwalk through dunes with no plants.

Now Stephen Betts has created a series of comparison photos to show both the growth of the spinifex and of the dunes around the new plantings.

Where marram grass creates high and unstable dunes, the native spinifex builds extensive low dunes.

In 2020 Horowhenua District Council also applied fertiliser during planting, which seems to have paid off. Many thanks Stephen for the following photos and write-up.

Sometimes it looks like the dunes remain unchanged then you realise that many of the poles put in place in 2018 are nearly covered with sand, and some of the signs are buried.

Here are couple of pictures of the dunes on Reay Mackay Grove north end. Taken a little over 2 years and 4 months apart.

The first one is taken the week or weekend of the initial planting in 2018, the second was taken in March 2021.

I tried to frame them with a similar perspective.

A person in two side by side photos allows us to see dune increase.
Spinifex fills in previously empty areas of sand.

The area around by the “Beach is a Road” sign has also started to fill in with the plantings from 2019.

The ground level has risen over the spring of this year. Here are two pictures that show the rise of the dunes.

Dune growth by the Beach is a Road sign.
Dune growth by the Beach is a Road sign.

Here is another picture of the path , a reprise of the photo from January 2014.

You can just see the top of the right most pole in your frame, hidden in the shadow behind the new fence line.

Dunes are growing towards the sea.
Dunes are growing towards the sea.

And finally the buried dune sign I moved some years ago, I tried to dig it out once, but the sand was too soft and dry and it kept filling in

Slightly misleading, but you can see the old fence behind the new fence still exposed on the right of the final picture.

Sand has covered a boardwalk.
The north track boardwalk has been covered by sand.

Word is, there will be more spinifex and pīngao available to plant later in 2021.

4 thoughts on “Spinifex superpowers”

  1. Great team effort – to be repeated later this year. Good advert for the quality of the shirt and shorts – LoL.

    Usual residence: Waikawa

    1. As to the shorts, i buy two pairs at a time when i find something i like, but only wearing in the weekends they are lasting well, they are both pairs are still good.
      Keen to know what the Horowhenua Council will do this year, maybe a fence and spinifex around the area beyond to build up the new dunes that are starting to form.
      A few new boulders south of the current groyne to push the river more directly out to sea would be good, but as ownership is disputed, i can’t see it ever happening

      Usual residence: Waikawa

  2. Great to see the comparison photos Stephen…happy to help again when dates available

    Usual residence: NZ

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