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.

Continue reading “Spinifex superpowers”

Burning bed on the beach

One WBRA member, Stephen Betts, recently reported a burnt out bed on the banks of the Waiorongomai Stream:

Went for a walk down to Waiorongomai Stream this morning picking up the usual detritus on the way.

This is what I found on the beach near the stream. It looks like someone has burnt out a bed since yesterday and had a bit of a party with some household waste.

It’s so frustrating: not only an illegal fire on the beach, but dumping rubbish along with it.

Burned Bed by the Waiorongomai Stream.
Burned Bed by the Waiorongomai Stream. Photo by Stephen Betts.
Burned Bed by the Waiorongomai Stream.
Burned Bed by the Waiorongomai Stream. Photo by Stephen Betts.

That wire looks exactly like the kind of thing that could catch a human foot, a horse hoof or a dog paw, especially with a thin layer of sand blown over it.

Here’s hoping Kāpiti District Council will remove the rubbish.

Awa Pukapuka open for reading

Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.

On Monday, 12 April 2021 the first books were loaded into the new Awa Pukapuka near the footbridge. Anja and Theo Geelen have done a superb job with this new Little Free Library. They’ve also been given plenty of support and help by the community who have helped lay concrete, put the library in place and contributed books.

Anja and Theo Geelen by the new Little Free Library.
Anja and Theo Geelen by the new Little Free Library.

Congratulations to all!

The library is now open, although there are a few finishing touches yet to come, including artwork.

That means that an official launch hasn’t yet been scheduled, but there will be one.

There are a few guidelines:

Please note that books need to be in reasonable order. We also reserve the right to discard books if they don’t attract an interest, are not ‘moving’, or deemed unsuitable. This is a LITTLE library and we don’t have much storage capacity.

Games, puzzles (complete), DVDs, and magazines less than a year old, are also welcome.

Please use your own sound judgement when you drop off books to make sure we don’t become a ‘dumping ground’…

We are looking forward to growing Awa Pukapuka as a community project for all to enjoy. Many thanks.

Road safety submission by 19 April 2021

Our friends at the Manakau District Community Association have created a submission to the Horowhenua District Council Long-Term Plan that you might like to also sign and submit. It particularly covers options for the intersection of Waikawa Beach Road and SH1. Cover letter: The Road Safety of our Children (13 KB DOCX) :

The Road Safety of our Children, Residents and Traveling Public is paramount to our community.

Please read and sign the submission to the Horowhenua District Council Long Term Plan 2021 -2041 which is seeking support and advocacy from council for both State Highway 1 and the new O2NL expressway as part of its Long Term Plan work programs.

Please support our endeavors to make our community roads safer.

Please download the submission, sign it and email it back to ltp@horowhenua.govt.nz with a copy also sent to manakausecretary@gmail.com.

Submissions close 4pm Monday 19 April 2021.

Manakau District Community Association and Manakau District Community Association – O2NL Sub- committee

The submission: MDCA & MDCA O2NL Submission to LTP (18 KB DOCX).

A few key items of interest for us from the submission:

We are seeking actions and advocacy from Horowhenua District Council (HDC) as part of its Long Term Plan work programmes.

We request that in 2021 HDC advocate to NZTA on behalf of the Manakau community for the following roading improvements/measures on State Highway 1 at Manakau:

  • Reduction of the speed limit through Manakau to 60km
  • Installation of a roundabout or traffic lights at Waikawa Beach Road
  • Installation of a safety measure to aid the passage of pedestrians and cyclists between Manakau village and Waikawa Beach Rd, such as via an overbridge, underpass or time-limited traffic lights

There are many more points in the submission. Please download it, read it, and consider signing and submitting it.

What’s in the river water at Waikawa Beach

On 06 April 2021 this item appeared: What’s in the water? Nationwide interest in EPA programme:

By sampling just a litre of water, groups capture remnants of DNA shed by creatures in the waterway. The eDNA data reveals all the species present — from microbes to mammals. This can indicate the overall health of the ecosystem and draw attention to creatures that are under threat or unwanted pest species.

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, refers to all the tiny traces of genetic material that is left behind as living things pass through water or soil.

From kērēru to kōwhai, and the leaves in the wind, all living things shed genetic information into their local environment. This is called environmental DNA, or eDNA.

For example, a bird flies over a lake and drops a feather. … Likewise, an insect may fall into the lake, and leaves fall from trees. These plants and animals leave behind ‘genetic breadcrumbs’ (such as skin cells and faeces) in the environments they live in.

A bit of investigation showed that back in May 2020 Tim Clapham from Wellington High School took a sample from the river at Waikawa Beach. The results of Sample number: 501185 show the presence of eDNA from cattle, pigs, birds such as shags, pūkeko, silvereye and geese, fish such as flounder and mullet, eels and īnanga, as well as snails, worms and other lifeforms.

Sample location on a map.
Sample location on a map.
Species found.
Species found.

The penguin says: down with death trap nets!

Yesterday John Hewitson, Chair of the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association, was walking along the beach north of the river when he spotted a suspicious looking black lump on the sand. A closer look revealed a penguin totally entangled in black fishing net, unable to swim or feed.

Penguin on the beach.
Penguin on the beach.
Penguin totally tangled in fishing net.
Penguin totally tangled in fishing net.

John freed the bird and contacted DoC’s hotline at 0800 362 468. He took the bird home and cared for it overnight (a warm secure bed in a box and a bowl of water).

Today the penguin is on its way to professional care at The Nest at Wellington Zoo.

Thanks John for spotting this bird in trouble and for rescuing it.

For folks out there who fish: please don’t let nets get away from you.

Update: here’s a much happier looking penguin!

Perky penguin in a box.
Perky penguin in a box.