Community Update – 28 March 2023

Subject: Invitation to Rates Review hui at Horowhenua District Council

Good afternoon,

We would like to invite you and your members to Horowhenua District Council’s Rates Review hui on Wednesday 29 May at 7:30 pm, at Council’s Civic Building in Levin.

You might remember that last year Council promised to do a Rates Review.  We’re doing that now and would like to discuss that with you.  This is being done as part of a combined Long Term Plan Amendment and Annual Plan process.

Council will be presented with the draft Consultation Document and supporting information to consider adopting on Wednesday 22 May. If adopted, consultation will begin on Monday 27 May 2023.  This sets out the options we’d like feedback on.

The Rates Review is one of the key issues. The purpose of the rates review is to determine if our current system for distributing rates across the district is fair.

Council would like to invite you to the hui we are holding in Council Chambers, Civic Building, 126 Oxford St, Levin.

This is an open meeting but we are specifically inviting iwi, hapu, ratepayers and progressive associations, Grey Power and Federated Farmers to this meeting because of your interest in these issues and to provide you and your members an early opportunity to hear from Elected Members and staff about options proposed, why, and to ask questions as the consultation period starts.  We will hold a range of further events and opportunities for discussion throughout the consultation period, and we’d welcome any further questions from yourselves and others.

I appreciate there’ll be a lot of calls on your time and hope you’ll be able to attend.

Please RSVP, with the number of people attending, to this email address ( by COB Monday 27 March 2023.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Thank you,

Carolyn Dick
Strategic Planning Manager | Kaihautū Rangapū Hinonga Arawaka

Waea Mahi | (06) 366 0999
Waea Pukoro | +64272623130

126 Oxford Street, Levin
Private Bag 4002, Levin 5540

Community Update – 11 February 2023

Media Release – Civil Defence Emergency Management team monitoring situation as Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle gathers momentum – 10 February 2023 

Horowhenua District Council’s Civil Defence Emergency Management team met today in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle to the district.

Early modelling shows the Upper North and East Coast of the North Island will be most severely impacted by the impending weather system, however Horowhenua can expect severe gales of between 120km and140km from Tuesday, and the Tararua Range is likely to receive a substantial amount of rain.

The severe wind and heavy rainfall anticipated could mean fallen trees, power outages, rapidly rising rivers, potential flooding, hazardous driving conditions and possible challenges for our treatment plants.  Council and contractors are keeping a watching brief throughout the weekend as the situation develops. 

Civil Defence Emergency Management Controller Brent Harvey says “At this stage the modelling is showing Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle’s path veering to the east of our district, however these types of weather systems are changeable, so it’s important we all be prepared.”

 We encourage the community to do what they can to prepare for Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle:

  • In an emergency, call 111.
  • Stay informed of weather updates on  Follow Council’s Facebook page @HorowhenuaDC for local Civil Defence Emergency updates
  • Make a plan – now is a good time to refresh your grab bag (one grab bag per person) and household emergency plan. More info is available on
  • Secure any items that could get blown about and cause harm in strong winds
  • Clean drains and gutters, trim any loose tree branches
  • Check on your neighbours and anyone who might need your help.
  • During a weather event, close windows, external and internal doors.  Pull curtains or blinds over unprotected glass areas to prevent injury from shattered or flying glass.
  • Bring pets inside, move stock to shelter.  If you have to evacuate take your pets with you.
  • Limit any unnecessary travel.

 Always put your safety first. Act quickly if you see rising water. Never try to walk, swim or drive through flood water.

 If need be, follow any instructions about evacuation of your area. Self-evacuate if you feel unsafe. 

Find out what to do before, during and after a storm on

Committee Update – 7 February 2023


Following the sudden passing of well-known and respected local Carl GIBSON, the committee decided to donate to the “Trees That Count” organisation in memory of Carl. The organisation has subsequently advised us about the trees that will be planted in Carl’s honour in a local planting project.

Our deepest condolences to Carl’s family and friends.

Below is the reply the committee received following the donation.


Thanks again for your recent donation to Trees That Count. 

We are excited to let you know that the native tree(s) you donated have now been matched to a planting project. Your native tree(s) will be planted by Makaretu Planting Project. To find out more about this planting project, you can check out Makaretu Planting Project’s Tree Profile.  

Thanks for being a part of the movement to see millions more native trees planted throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. We really appreciate your support.

Ngā mihi,

Trees That Count


Makaretu Planting Project

Farming / Forestry / Rural (Manawatu-Whanganui)

Makaretu is a 14 Hectare block on the Eastern bank of the Makaretu stream at the confluence of the Ōhau river in the Horowhenua. It has been farmed for over 80 years and there is sparse remaining bush. The terrain is alluvial terraces with a stream, a river and numerous springs feeding wetland areas. The topography is that of numerous terraces that have been carved from the changing course of the Makaretu over thousands of years.

The vision for this block is to retire 70% of the land into permanent native forest, and restore the health of the river, which is located upstream from the potable water supply for the town of Levin. Excluding stock and improving the stability of the river will have a significant impact on improving the water quality for much of the local community. Furthermore the nearby Gladstone reserve on the Ōhau river is a popular recreational area and we hope that restoring the forest adjacent to the Makaretu river will improve the amenity value for the public. We have completed extensive fencing to exclude stock, and undertaken a weed eradication programme to eliminate the naturalised blackberry and barberry on our block. Our neighbours on the eastern side of the Makaretu are committed to undertaking a similar programme of restoration work to ensure the success of this project and the future health of the Makaretu.

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


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.


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