Community Update – 12 February 2024

Spartina Weed Control Notification – Waikawa Conservation Area

The Department of Conservation is planning to undertake a herbicide operation to control the weed, Spartina (Spartina anglica, Spartina alterniflora), within the Waikawa Conservation Area (see below).

If you have any concerns and/or questions regarding the operation or wish to receive β‰ˆ24-hour notification of the operation’s commencement, please advise using the contact details in the attachment.

Notification Letter

Waikawa Beach Community Committee September 2022 Progress report

When the Waikawa Beach Community Committee first met on the 17th of July 2022 several action points were made and reported in the minutes. It seems timely to report on the follow up to these as below.

Action points from the Waikawa Beach Community Committee initial meeting

Action Point: Minutes / information to community so they are informed that action is being taken, although it may take some time and the need for the community to be patient while we work towards a long-term solution.

  • Minutes from meeting have been circulated to those who have left their names with Debra Betts as being interested in being kept informed
  • Minutes forwarded to the Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association (WBRA)
  • Minutes placed on the WBRA website

Action Point: Follow through with Arthur Nelson and Craig Kidd about progress on the current access, to highlight that white baiting season will soon be here and concerns that without vehicle access people will make their way to the beach through illegal pathways.

  • Beach access through the end of Manga Pirau St was restored by the council
  • A local working bee used wood from the beach to attempt to stabilise this access
  • On the 13th September access was once again compromised due to weather events- members of the community took action to firstly block access as a safety measure and then restore access with the working bee.

Action Point: Consultation with Carl Gibson to arrange a suitable time to discuss his ideas.

  • A meeting was held with Carl Gibson on the 24th of July and minutes from this sent out as detailed above

Action Point: Follow up with appropriate people on septic tank issues.

  • On the 25th of July a phone call was made to Horizons council to enquire about the possibility of an emergency river cut due to the high-water table causing issues with people’s septic tanks. This enquiry was referred back to Horowhenua council. A letter outlining the issues was sent to the Mayor – Bernie Wanden, along with a letter from a community member detailing the issues they were facing.
  • This resulted in a meeting with representatives from Horizons and Horowhenua council to discuss both this issue and the council report on vehicle beach access options.
  • This meeting was held on the 7th of September at the Manga Pirau St beach entrance with: Monique Davidson, CEO of Horowhenua council, Arthur Nelson, Council’s Parks and Property Manager and Stefan Titze, Parks and Property Project Lead from Horowhenua council, John Foxall and John Royard from Horizons Regional Council and Sophie Campbell and Debra Betts from the Waikawa Beach Community Committee. Lydia Mackie was present on the beach at the time and joined the meeting.
  • It was discussed that it was uncertain that cutting the river would lower the water table in this area or assist those with septic tank issues
  • It was also discussed that emergency river cuts for septic tank issues are not a viable option for the council at present
  • It was mentioned that there had been follow through from council to deal with individuals who had issues with their septic tanks
  • There was a verbal commitment from Horizons Regional Council to investigate with their scientific advisors if the issues of the high-water table would be assisted by regular cutting of the river.
  • These findings would be reported back to the CEO of the Horowhenua council

Action Point: Contact to be made with the CEO of The Horowhenua council to seek more information about the council report on vehicle beach access options.

  • Enquiries were made to the CEO about the publication of this report
  • A meeting held on the 7th of September at the Manga Pirau St beach entrance in relationship to the action point above
  • There was a verbal consent from Monique Davidson, CEO of Horowhenua council that before any council report on vehicle beach access options was published there would be consultation with us as a community.
  • Any community consultation would not occur until after the local council elections – (voting closes midday Saturday 8th of October).

Date for next committee meeting yet to be confirmed

Prepared by: Debra Betts Date 16/09/2022

Waikawa Beach Community Meeting 17 July 2022

Meeting Minutes

Waikawa Beach Community Meeting

Date: Sunday 17th July [2022] 10 am

Venue: Manakau Hall

Attendance:

Debra Betts (chair), Stephen Betts, Steve Bailey, Sophie Cambell, Deb Moran, Vivian Stewart, Peter Stewart, Alan Thorn, Julia Signal- Thorn, Lesley Anne Walker and Gary Whittaker

Apologies: Darren Galway, Barry Smith and Tony White.

Minutes of Last Meeting approved – Moved by Julia and seconded by Lesley Anne

Introductory Round: Members of the group briefly introduced themselves and what outcomes they were looking for. These included:

  • Urgent resolution to current beach access
  • Long term solution for beach access
  • Work to address complex and longer-term issues such as climate change, erosion and ecological impacts
  • Improving community cohesion

Feedback: At the last meeting several members were tasked with finding out more information from council and others.

Report back from Lesley -Anne Walker – Meetings with Horowhenua District and Horizons Regional Council

Meetings with Horowhenua District Council

Lesley Anne talked to Council staff, Arthur Nelson and Craig Kidd about the current beach access. Stormy weather last week prevented this work, but it will proceed once weather has settled.

Meeting with Horizons Regional Council

Darren, Tony and Lesley-Anne met with John Foxall of Horizons regarding the groyne cut. He noted that they cannot do any further work without Iwi consultation and that Iwi are currently very busy and it is difficult to get time with them. The committee noted that we should try to establish our own communication with local iwi.

The meeting included a visit to the South Track on Reay Mckay where the suitably of this track for an emergency vehicle access was discussed. Lesley -Anne also discussed this with Councilor Christine Mitchell

Report back from Steve Bailey – river cut

Steve talked to Carl Gibson, who has extensive skills in earthworks and local knowledge of the river and what would be necessary to divert it. He noted that previous cuts were ineffective and has agreed to come talk to the group about what he believes is required.

Report back from Gary Whittaker – working bee

Gary talked to many locals who are keen to be part of working bee to help restore and maintain the current access.

Other feedback – what happens elsewhere

Stephen Betts corresponded with Himitangi Community Committee who work with Manawatu Council to maintain the beach – such as piling driftwood against the dunes.

Vivian and Peter Stewart had also been to Kai Iwi in Whanganui and noted that locals had worked with Horizons to build tracks, bridges and access for people, quads and horses.

Discussion

Working with HDC

The council’s report on vehicle beach access options for Waikawa beach (due on November 30th) was discussed. It agreed that while waiting for this report, the community need to ensure that we abide by current council regulations and that any short-term independent actions around beach access may be detrimental to our ability to work with the council towards long term solutions.

Sophie who has had extensive dealings with the Council discussed the slowness of working with Council and the need to find out more information on the current proposed report. She noted that even though Horizons may do the work on other beaches this work requires the approval of councils who forward to the regional council.

Water Table

The issue of the high-water table was raised and the impact on effective operation of septic tanks in the village. It was suggested that Alan and Julia contact Harold Barnett at Horizons to discuss their concerns that the current high-water table is blocking the septic tank. If the river is having any effect on the high-water table, there may be a case for an emergency cut.

Going Forward

  1. Minutes / information to community so they are informed that action is being taken, although it may take some time and the need for the community to be patient while we work towards a long-term solution.
  2. Contact to be made with CEO and Christine Mitchell to seek more information about the council report on vehicle beach access options.
  3. Follow through with Arthur Nelson and Craig Kidd about progress on the current access, to highlight that white baiting season will soon be here and concerns that without vehicle access people will make their way to the beach through illegal pathways.
  4. Consultation with Carl Gibson to arrange a suitable time to discuss his ideas.
  5. Follow up with appropriate people on septic tank issues.
  6. Explore contacts to identify local Iwi connected to the river and beach who we can engage with.
  7. Committee members to bring suggestions for committee name to next meeting.

Meeting concluded 11.30 am

Date for next meeting yet to be determined

Download the minutes as a 123 KB PDF: Meeting Minutes 17th July 22.pdf

Did you hear the volcano or see a tsunami surge? GeoNet want to know

GeoNet: News:

Request for observations following the Tongan eruption and tsunami

Published: Fri Jan 21 2022 12:00 PM

We are interested in your observations of the sea and coastal areas following the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption on 15 January 2022. We would also like to know about “booming” sounds heard around the time of the eruption Saturday evening.

Our researchers would love to hear from you if you noticed any unusual behaviours of the sea or coastal areas in the hours and days following the eruption, or have photos and videos of this happening. We are also interested in experiences from people who heard the ‘booming’ sounds that travelled around the world during the eruption. Please follow the link below to share these with us.

Go to GeoNet: News to do the Survey.

Rare Lamprey in Waikawa stream

Sometimes you notice one little snippet about Waikawa Beach in a larger article on the web:

one of New Zealand’s rare native fish Lamprey (Geotria australis) has been discovered in waterways like the Waikawa Stream and reaches of the Ōhura River in the Horizons Region.

Lamprey (Geotria australis) being measured.
Lamprey (Geotria australis) being measured.

This comes from a Horizons Regional Council article: DNA techniques reveal the full spectrum of river life. The article also says:

A technique called environmental DNA or eDNA for short, is helping … identify the animal species present in our waterways. …

DNA is shed by aquatic life from their skin, scales, fluids and faeces. The technique is able to detect even minute traces of each species and the overall proportion of it within the water sample. The species of fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, plants, fungi, bacteria, insects, snails, worms and anything else are identified by comparing the DNA fragments to a reference database. This requires as little as a mug of water sucked through a filter, though more water increases the chance of detecting organisms.