Please don’t leave dead fish for the birds

Lesley-Anne Walker contributed this reminder about good fishing etiquette:

Several beach walkers have mentioned to me the fish skeletons left on the beach…

These are generally from people with their kontikis who gut and fillet their catch before they go back home.

Fishers should take a spade down and at least bury the remains and not let them get floating about in the water where people swim or where you could stand on them in the shallows.

It’s a simple thing to do.

Leaving them for the seagulls is laziness and thoughtless to those who want a swim.

It’s just good fishing etiquette.

We’ve all probably stumbled across fish skeletons like this on the beach … sometimes half a dozen or more at a time. So, fishing folks: add a spade to your equipment pile and please bury the bits you’re not taking home.

Trees tidied by footbridge

As planned, trees creating a safety hazard by the footbridge were trimmed on Wednesday 23 December 2020. See: Footbridge closed 23 December 2020 for tree work.

The work also included taking down a broken branch from the big tree in front of the toilet block, and lopping off a few low-hanging branches by the dog poop bag dispenser by the bridge.

Treescape truck in position by the footbridge.
Treescape truck in position by the footbridge.
Workers in the trees across the bridge.
Workers in the trees across the bridge.

Check it’s alright before you light a fire this summer

With Christmas almost here fires are already a thing to think about at Waikawa Beach. On 19 December 2020 a small fire was found burning in driftwood between the south track off Reay Mackay Grove and the Waiorongomai Stream.

Driftwood fire.
Driftwood fire.

Found early in the morning, the fire may well have been lit the previous night.

Fires are not permitted on the beach at any time!

Fires are allowed under certain circumstances at times — such as in firepits, pizza ovens and incinerators. Fire and Emergency have an improved website where you can check if it’s alright to light your fire. Be aware though of various regulations and laws about smoke nuisance. Check the information at Fires and smoke at Waikawa Beach for details. In short: let your neighbours breathe easy.

Understanding fire risk conditions will now be clearer and simpler, thanks to a new online tool launched today by the Minister in charge of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti.

“Last summer, wildfires destroyed over 10,000 hectares of native bird habitat. No one wants their property destroyed or their life disrupted by fire, but many of us don’t realise just how risky some common activities are,” Jan Tinetti says.

The new mobile-friendly tool on Fire and Emergency’s checkitsalright.nz website makes it easier for people to understand fire danger conditions across the country and helps make informed decisions about lighting outdoor fires this summer.

“New Zealanders can check local fire danger and fire season status, and get clear guidance on whether they need a permit to light a fire or not. …

“Climate change mean that fires present a growing threat to communities here and overseas. As we enter a hot, dry summer, it is important people understand the risks and act accordingly. …

“In New Zealand, 99% of wildfires are started by people – it only takes a spark. Our actions make all the difference, especially when the fire danger is heightened over summer,” Jan Tinetti says.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand wants fire risks to be front of mind for everyone thinking of lighting fires or undertaking spark generating activities this summer. Before lighting any kind of fire, check the local fire danger at www.checkitsalright.nz.

Source: Summer Wildfire Prevention Campaign Launched | Beehive.govt.nz.

Footbridge closed 23 December 2020 for tree work

There are some dangerous tree branches around the footbridge that need to be sorted out. Today (Thursday 17 December 2020) we received the following advice from Stephan Titze, Parks and Property Project Lead, at Horowhenua District Council:

Treescape has scheduled the previously discussed removal of overhanging and dead branches next to the Waikawa Beach Pedestrian Bridge for the 23rd December [2020].

Please note that during this time of work the bridge needs to be closed for the public to ensure a safe environment.

We’ll be seeing Police on the beach this summer

Expect to see Police officers on Waikawa Beach this summer (2020-21). They’ll particularly focus on safe speeds and on handling the ‘dance’ between vehicles and pedestrians.

Two police officers will be stationed at beaches from Tangimoana to Te Horo for eight weeks over summer, starting on Monday.

Senior Sergeant Beth Purcell said … safe speeds along the beaches and the safety of people crossing to and from the sea was a focus this year.

“We see this largely as a prevention role, educating and promoting safe driving practices enhancing public safety.” …

She said many people don’t know beaches were considered roads and were subject to bylaws that governed speed.

The officers would have quad bikes and would deal with speeding cars, public disorder and lost children, liaise with beach wardens and community service groups, and attend public events such as annual big digs. …

The officers would travel between nine beaches at Tangimoana, Himatangi, Foxton, Waitārere, Hokio, Kuku, Waikawa, Ōtaki and Te Horo.

Source: Police to patrol beaches over summer as tensions rise on the foreshore | Stuff.co.nz.

Some beach reminders as we come into the busy season:

On the beach

  • Watch out for and give way to wildlife, kids, dogs, horses and pedestrians in general. Slow down and relax.
  • Maximum speed on the beach is 30 Kph. Vehicles must be registered.
  • Drive between the latest high tide line and the water.
  • No motor vehicles of any kind in the dunes or on the tracks to the beach — the Manga Pirau Street entrance is the only place vehicles can access the beach.
  • No fires on the beach at any time.
  • Take away everything you bring on to the beach, including rubbish and food scraps. Put rubbish in the bins.
  • Remove your dog’s poop.
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet, the sea, sand and birds, the fish.

In the village and Strathnaver

  • Watch out for and give way to wildlife, kids, dogs, horses and pedestrians in general. Slow down and relax.
  • Fires: see Fires and smoke at Waikawa Beach for details. Check it’s safe; don’t allow smoke to annoy neighbours. Be aware a fire engine could be 20 minutes or more away.
  • Fireworks: there are a lot of horses, dogs, cats and other animals and people at Waikawa Beach who find fireworks terrifying. Many locals favour them being banned. Please limit or reconsider fireworks. No fireworks on the beach.
  • Speed limits: maximum 50 Kph by law in the village, but 30 Kph is a better choice over summer. 60 Kph in Strathnaver, but slower is better. When passing cyclists, horses and pedestrians slow down and move over.
  • Put rubbish in bins, not in the environment.

Footbridge safety measures from December 2020

The limit of people on the footbridge at any one time is 10 people. Also stay off the bridge during very high winds. These limits have been set by Horowhenua District Council as a result of a technical safety audit done as part of an ongoing repair programme.

We received advice from Stephan Titze, Parks and Property Project Lead at HDC:

I would like to provide you with a quick update on the latest developments on the Waikawa Beach Pedestrian Bridge maintenance.

Following the recently initiated bridge inspection I have initiated the installation of a signboard which is informing bridge user on a weight restriction (maximum 10 people at a time — and no use during high wind — higher than 100km).

This signboards are already developed and will be installed soon.

In addition I have requested our external service provider Treescape to trim back overhanging branches which might cause a danger for bridge user or the bridge itself. This is mainly focused on the beach site.

I also requested Recreational Service to replace parts of the grip mats installed on the bridge surface as there are worn out.

However, as Tree scape will have no vehicle access to the beach site and will be required to carry all branches over the bridge, we will wait with the mat replacement until the tree work has been finalised to avoid duplication of the work.

So far the date of the tree work is not fixed yet but we have been promised by treescape that this can be achieved prior to the celebration days.

Unfortunately at the day of tree work the bridge access will be limited (closed) due to the closed range of the work to the bridge.

However, as soon as I have a fixed date I will inform you and would kindly request you to post this restriction on your webpage so that your community is aware of this work and related restrictions.

Thank you for your support.

Update 13 December 2020: the sign has been put up, with text:
Kaua i nui atu i te 10 tāngata i te wā kotahi
Kaua e whakawhiti atu mēnā he kaha te pupuhi o te hau.

Maximum load 10 people at a time
Do not use during high winds

Footbridge capacity sign.
Footbridge capacity sign.
Drone Photo 0398. River from footbridge to groyne.
Drone Photo 0398 by Blair. River from footbridge to groyne.