Waikawa Bay?

The forecast 60 to 90 mm rain today turned out to be more like 16 mm and the gales were really just blustery strong winds.

However the tide filled the estuary, as witnessed by Stephen Betts mid-afternoon, during a bit of a break in the weather.

Sea fills the Waikawa Beach estuary.
After a stormy day and not long after high tide the sea is filling the estuary. Photo by Stephen Betts.

Click on the photo to see it at a larger size.

Hōngongoi (July) 2021 Newsletter

Kia ora koutou kātoa,
well, one thing you can say about the last month is frosts (hukapapa)! The mornings have been white and freezing (mātaratara) lately. Then we’ve had some pretty lovely sunny days.

  1. We need a Treasurer — could that be you?
  2. The Small Girl Who Lives Next Door
  3. Horizons rates rise
  4. Transport matters
  5. Local news
  6. In the night sky this month
  7. Property
  8. WBRA Subscriptions

We need a Treasurer — could that be you?

As you’ll know from the last newsletter, we recently lost our Treasurer unexpectedly. We need someone to step up to see us through the rest of the year (until January), and then someone to take on the position. You don’t need to be an accountant — mostly everything works through online banking and it’s mainly a matter of good record keeping. Could this be you? If so, please email us at wbra.committee@gmail.com.

The Small Girl Who Lives Next Door

Waikawa Beach local, writer Glenn Colquhoun, has just published a new picture book, The Small Girl Who Lives Next Door. The story follows Jack’s journey to becoming more proficient in te reo, and learning about Māori culture. Read more: Local’s book about a journey to learn te reo Māori. Congratulations, Glenn!

Book cover: The Small Girl Who Lives Next Door.
Book cover: The Small Girl Who Lives Next Door.

Horizons rates rise

Horizons Regional Council adopted their Long-term Plan recently, and on average rates around the region will rise by about 8% per year for the next 3 years. That doesn’t necessarily mean your rates will rise that much though. Read more at: Horizons rates to increase.

To check what your next rates invoice will look like use the rates search tool.

Transport matters

SH1 safety changes — have your say by Wednesday 11 August: Waka Kotahi have some plans for ‘safety improvements’ along the stretch of SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin. They’re interested to hear the views of locals. Follow the link above to read the details and learn how to make your views known.

A recent news item proclaimed Government fast-tracks plans to extend Wellington’s commuter rail network to Levin. Essentially the Government want KiwiRail to hurry along plans to bring commuter trains to Levin. Read more: Train service improvements start with a business case.

Local news

At the end of June high seas and heavy rain flooded local paddocks and broke through the sand bar at the river mouth, allowing the river an easier flow to the sea. That in turn reduced the level of the river by the footbridge. See: It’s a wet one — 27 June 2021 and High seas; low river for more detail and photos.

Very low river by footbridge.
Very low river by footbridge.

The days around 16 to 19 July are forecast to bring gale force winds and even as much as 100 mm rain. Watch out for the wet!

And then there’s the footbridge. Our modern, sturdy, footbridge came courtesy of floods that knocked out the old, ramshackle bridge that used to be a bit further upstream. Where once you needed nerves of steel to cross, now you can depend on steel beams. See photos of the old bridge at There once was a bridge.

We had a couple of power cuts at the end of June. Read more at: Power out Monday 28 June 2021.

In the night sky this month

That really bright star in the western sky after sunset is Venus (Kōpū). You always find Venus near the Sun as it’s closer to the Sun than we are.

On the other hand, look East after sunset to see Saturn (Rongo) and Jupiter (Pareārau). If you have large binoculars or a telescope you might be able to see the rings round Saturn or some of the moons of Jupiter.

This is also a great time of year to see the Milky Way. Interested in what else is in Waikawa Beach’s wonderful dark night sky or a map to help find things? Take a look at The Evening Sky in July 2021.


Current property listings: 6 James Street.

Round in Strathnaver several houses are in varying stages of being built.

Ngā mihi nui,
Miraz Jordan

It’s seal (kekeno) season — take care on the beach

It’s the time of year when young seals (kekeno) show up on the beach to rest. Chris Wood sent us this photo on Friday 16 July 2021.

Seal by driftwood.
Seal by driftwood.

Remember to keep your distance and to keeps dogs, kids and vehicles well away. Don’t get between a seal and the sea.

NZ Fur seals are pinnipeds and are also known as Kekeno.

Eared seals include fur seals and sea lions. They have external ears, hind flippers they can turn forward under the body and walk on and no fur on the under side of their flippers. New Zealand examples are the New Zealand fur seal and New Zealand sea lion.

All seals, whales and dolphins are protected under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978.

If you see anyone disturbing fur seals call the DOC emergency hotline 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) and report it.

Source: Seals and sea lions: New Zealand marine mammals.

SH1 safety changes — have your say by Wednesday 11 August

From [14 July 2021], Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is asking for feedback from communities in and around Ōtaki and Levin about proposed safety improvements and current speed limits on State Highway 1 (SH1).

In the five years from 2016 to 2020, seven people lost their lives and 28 people were seriously injured on SH1 between Ōtaki and Levin. …

Waka Kotahi is planning a combination of safety improvements to SH1, including painted wide centrelines, side and median barriers, three new turnaround locations and a new roundabout at the SH1/SH57 intersection. Some safety improvements have already been installed in Manakau and Ohau. …

“We want to tap into local knowledge and find out what people think of our proposed infrastructure changes, as well as the current speed limits on SH1 between Taylors Road in Ōtaki and just beyond Kawiu Road north of Levin.

“Even when speed doesn’t cause the crash, it’s what will most likely to determine whether you or someone you love is killed, injured, or walks away unharmed from that crash. That’s why we need to make sure that speeds are safe and appropriate for the road.

“As a busy state highway with both high-risk intersections and rural residences, it is important the speed limits on SH1 reflect the risk on the road. We want to hear what locals and people who travel this route regularly think about the current speed limits, how they use the road and what their concerns might be.”

Feedback gathered through the engagement period will feed into the technical assessment of the road to help Waka Kotahi determine whether to propose speed limit changes to improve safety, where any proposed new speed limits would begin or end, and if any other safety improvements are needed. …

The public engagement period runs from today, Wednesday 14 July, until Wednesday 11 August.

How to have your say

People can find out more and have their say by:

  • Visiting nzta.govt.nz/sh1-south-of-levin
  • Emailing O2NL@nzta.govt.nz
  • Phoning 0508 625 4636, or;
  • Writing to O2NL Engagement, Private Bag 6995, Wellington 6141, or;
  • Attending one of the drop-in sessions:
    • Tuesday 20 July, 5pm–6.30pm at Ohau Hall
    • Tuesday 27 July, 5pm–6.30pm at Ōtaki Memorial Hall
    • Wednesday 28 July, 5pm–7pm at Manakau Hall
    • Saturday 31 July, 10am–2pm at the Ō2NL Project Office, 171 Oxford Street, Levin

Source: Locals asked to have their say on SH1 Ōtaki to Levin improvements | Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency.

Read the SH1 south of Levin safety improvements brochure (PDF).

Train service improvements start with a business case

We know that sometime within the next decade we should have a new Expressway from Ōtaki to Levin. Now it seems there may be hope for an improved, electrified, train service in that timeframe too:

The Government is fast-tracking a bold plan to extend Wellington’s commuter network to Levin, and the growing population north of the capital.

Electrification and boosting the network beyond Waikanae will be considered as part of a $1 million business case wanted by Transport Minister Michael Wood, and welcomed by regional leaders.

KiwiRail had plans to look at the business case in three years, but Wood now wanted it started “in the coming months” and delivered next year. …

It was too early to say when work would begin or what the commuter service would look like, but it would enable more frequent and faster services, he said. …

Wood said the upgrades would include replacing 130 kilometres of railway tracks and 200km of rail “sleepers”, replacing or improving 45 bridges, and improving safety at almost 30 level crossings.

Source: Government fast-tracks plans to extend Wellington’s commuter rail network to Levin.

Should we hold our collective breaths?