Waikawa Beach Planting Day 2020

It was a cool morning on Saturday 22 August 2020 when a dozen volunteers and half a dozen Horowhenua District Council staff turned out to build the dunes. Over a couple of hours 3,000 spinifex and 500 pīngao plants went into the dunes.

Spinifex and pingao plants - many have already been planted.
Spinifex and pingao plants – many have already been planted.

On the Friday beforehand the Council staff had dropped off the plants and put up posts and tape to enclose the extended area where the plants were to go.

The bad news for those using the north track off Reay Mackay Grove: it now takes even longer to get onto the beach proper.

Ready-made holes.
Ready-made holes.
Jeff takes a break from drilling holes.
Jeff takes a break from drilling holes.

Life was made a whole lot easier this year by Jeff and Ann who drilled thousands of holes ready for the plants to go in — no spades required! It also had the advantage of making deeper holes, giving the plants a better start in life.

Ann also used a spray meant to deter rabbits as the previous year’s planting had been hit hard in parts by the pests. Ann also sprinkled fertiliser to help the young plants along.

A tray of about 40 plants.
A tray of about 40 plants.

This year’s plants were strong, healthy and abundant!

Volunteers hard at work.
Volunteers hard at work. Note the new tape and how much sand has accumulated below last year’s tape.
Rows of plants heading north, towards the village.
Rows of plants heading north, towards the village. Note the fertiliser pellets.
A tall and badly eroded dune has been planted up.
A tall and badly eroded dune has been planted up.
Stefan hard at work putting the recently added Beach Entrance pole in a more visible place.
Stefan hard at work putting the recently added Beach Entrance pole in a more visible place.

One family who came along to plant (and also provided some welcome shortbread) live up on SH1. They found the dunes a lifesaver during Level 4 shutdown and wanted to give back to the Waikawa Beach community.

The next day we had a good fall of rain, which should help the young plants settle in to their new home.

What a contrast! This photo from December 2013 shows the old north track boardwalk with bare sand on either side. In the last 7 years the boards have not only been covered, but the tops of the posts are now well below the surface of the sand. Plants have grown up on either side and the trail to the flat area of beach is a great deal longer.

North beach track off Reay Mackay Grove, December 2013.
North beach track off Reay Mackay Grove, December 2013.

Our thanks go to the Horowhenua District Council staff who so freely gave their time and hard work and to all the volunteers who can feel proud of their work in building our beach.

Whitebaiting season opens on Saturday 15 August 2020

The river has made a long lazy loop at the mouth ready for this year’s whitebaiting season start on Saturday 15 August 2020. See posts from previous years about whitebait:

Hardcore whitebaiters on day one of the 2018 season.
Hardcore whitebaiters on day one of the 2018 season.

Spinifex planting 9.30 am Saturday 22 August 2020 — please join in

We had an email from Ben Wood, Parks and Property Officer, Horowhenua District Council:

We’d like to carry out a planting day of Spinifex (2500 plants) and Pingao (500 plants) on Saturday the 22nd of August starting at 9:30am.

In other years planting has gone very quickly — with enough volunteers it can take as little as an hour.

Please join us at the north end of Reay Mackay Grove and lend a hand to plant a few plants.

Bring a spade (if you can) and some friends or family.

See Spinifex and pīngao were planted for tips on planting (it’s really easy) and photos from 2019 and Quick work on the Spinifex planting for 2018’s report.

Plantings from previous years have grown really well. Just look at the photos below from 2014 and 2016!

May 2016 - north track off Reay Mackay Grove.
May 2016 – north track off Reay Mackay Grove.
January 2014-  north beach track off Reay Mackay Grove.
January 2014- north beach track off Reay Mackay Grove. That board walk is now under a couple of metres of sand.

Dune photos from May 2020

Ben Wood, Parks and Property Officer at Horowhenua District Council sent us some drone photos from May 2020:

Here are those aerials taken during lockdown, I’ve put in a 2011 aerial. You can use the 2011 fence as a reference for how much we’ve been able to build the dunes. I measure it at around 50 – 60m!

The spinifex plantings from the last few years are definitely helping to build the dunes.

2011 photo. Just look at that boardwalk!
2011 photo. Just look at that boardwalk!
May 2020 photo of beach and dunes.
May 2020 photo of beach and dunes.
May 2020 dunes.
May 2020 dunes.