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