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Ngunguru Sandspit: Archaeological Assessment (2004) PDF Print
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Written by Clough & Associates   
Sunday, 10 April 2016
document cover


A preliminary archaeological survey was carried out at the request of Bruce Waters of Landco Farming Limited, on approximately 112 hectares of land located on the Ngunguru Sandspit, east of Whangarei. The survey is intended to assist in planning for any future uses of the Sandspit.

This report will form part of the required assessment of effects in support of any future resource consent application for the land. It summarises previous work and builds on that Work to identify, scope and determine mechanisms for protecting archaeologically significant sites on the Sandspit.

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Ecological assessment of the Landco property, Ngunguru Sandspit, Whangarei District PDF Print
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Written by R Pierce, Wildland Consultants. In Maingay Collection, Whangarei libraries   
Sunday, 10 April 2016
document cover


Landco Farming Ltd commissioned Wildland Consultants Ltd to undertake an ecological assessment of their property on the Sandspit, including land immediately to the south. I carried out Walk—through surveys of the vegetation and habitats of the property on 14 and 30 April 2004 and returned on two additional days to carry out some site—specific inspections, including surveys for cryptic [difficult to locate and/or identify in the field] fauna.

This report provides a description of the vegetation and habitats, details of the species of plants and fauna present, and an assessment of the ecological significance of the habitats and species. Management issues were also assessed and various management recommendations are provided. Vascular plants, avifauna, reptiles, fish and key invertebrates that were recorded during the visits are listed in Appendices l-3.

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Archaeological values of the Ngunguru Sandspit PDF Print
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Written by Joan Maingay (2008)   
Sunday, 10 April 2016

The sandspit and adjacent land to the south has high archaeological values in addition to its natural and cultural significance. It contains more than 50 recorded archaeological sites and there are almost certainly other unrecorded sites below the surface and in areas presently covered in vegetation.

A small well-defined pa looks out over the spit from the south and this is flanked by terraces that would have contained house sites. Shell middens, the remains of many meals, spill down the sides of the pa and behind it lies a swampy area where taro was grown and where wooden artifacts were recovered when the swamp was drained. In addition a 19th century land claim plan, OLC 280, shows a ‘native settlement’ named Waipa near the south-western end of the sandspit. There are still remnants of old bottles and china here near to the high tide mark.

But the most numerous sites on the spit are middens. Some of these are enormous. One forms a discontinuous band 120m long and other extensive sites measure 35 x 90m and 20 x 90m. They contain a wide variety of estuarine, sandy shore, rocky shore and deeper water species of shellfish indicating that the inhabitants took advantage of all the available rich resources. Several sites also contain bird bone and flakes of grey obsidian possibly from Huruiki to the north.

No radio-carbon dates have been acquired for any of these sites, but one small in situ midden discovered by Stan Bartlett, the Northland Filekeeper for the NZ Archaeological Society, was obviously an early deposit. It contained a number of bird bones which included three extinct species, one of these, the giant New Zealand eagle, is believed to have become extinct by the 14th century. Mayor Island obsidian, of a distinctive clear green colour, was also present indicating long distance trade or exchange with other Maori groups, possibly before the discovery of closer obsidian resources at Huruiki and Kaeo.

The evidence indicates that a relatively permanent population lived near to the sandspit for a long period of time. They made good use of its resources and traded with other areas. No doubt numbers increased during the summer months (as they do today) probably by an influx of affiliated hapu from the inland volcanic area around Kiripaka, by way of Ngunguru River, to collect seafood and perhaps reciprocate with agricultural produce.

The sandspit also contains evidence of less peaceful activity. It is well-known as the scene of a battle in the 19th century, and many human remains have been exposed here by storms. Some of these within the area now proposed for development.

The importance of the property has been acknowledged by the NZ Historic Places Trust and by Whangarei District Council. It has been registered as a wahi tapu under the Historic Places Act and as a place of significance to Maori in the District Scheme. It is also a very rare archaeological landscape that must be recognized in its entirety. It incorporates evidence of early settlement and long distance trade, through the development of fortifications to 19th century warfare. There can be no doubt that the property is a place of great significance to Maori, to historians and to archaeologists.

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Ngunguru Sandspit Pii Manu Community Beach Walk, Sunday 20 March PDF Print
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Written by Ann Martin   
Friday, 18 March 2016

We do hope you can join us on Sunday for the annual Community Beach walk on Ngunguru Sandspit.

It will give you the chance to:

  • see, walk and enjoy this spectacular ocean beach and its dune wildlife close up
  • beachcomb for rubbish
  • help the Ngunguru School's Earth Ed programme by providing the collected rubbish to study
  • make the visit easily by being ferried by locals in their private boats
  • meet locals and visitors who share your appreciation of the Sandspit
  • learn more about what the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society is doing and join to support its work.

Meet at Te Maika Rd Ngunguru ; Register at the marquee

Rolling start time 10am-11.30am Last return time 12.30pm.

Ferry boats provided - bring koha and lifejacket

Bring sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, allergy medication, water-bottles

Use own tinny, canoe, paddle-boards

Leave dog at home

In the event of poor weather, check this website at 9.00am for notice of walk cancellation.

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Walk and learn on Ngunguru Sandspit – Pii Manu PDF Print
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Written by Linda Donaldson / Sally   
Saturday, 12 March 2016

Yours to value and enjoy, the Ngunguru Sandspit is the venue for the popular annual community beach walk to be held this year on Sunday March 20.

Free boat crossings will take people from Ngunguru to the Sandspit to visit this wilderness landscape with many stories to tell about history, culture, rare plants and wildlife.

Find out more by walking on the Sandspit, with its spectacular ocean beach and Ngunguru Bay, and get a feel for what is a vulnerable dune landscape supporting endangered wildlife. Keep to the low tide mark; look for a while, not disturbing the variety of birdlife – Dotterels, Oyster Catchers, Godwits, Caspian Terns, Black Backed Gulls, and Pied Stilts. Please leave your dog at home!

Attendees are encouraged to bring their paddle board, kayak, tinny or surfboard to make the crossing over to the Sandspit but those without boats can catch a ride with “boaties” who have kindly volunteered to ferry people. If you have a life jacket please bring it along.

People first need to register at the marquee in Te Maika Rd near Ngunguru School then there’s a rolling start ferrying people to the Sandspit from 10.00am to 11.30am with final ferry transport back to Te Maika Road at 12.30pm.

Beach combing for rubbish will be a focus of the walk with rubbish collected to be audited by students from Ngunguru School as part of their Earth Ed programme.

Local iwi, DOC and the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society (NSaPS) are working to restore and protect the natural character and future of Pii Manu/Ngunguru Sandspit.

Weed management to promote stabilising native plants, as well as control of pest such as stoats, cats and dogs to protect nesting shore bird has commenced this year with grants from DOC and support from TCR&R. Community support and interest in Ngunguru Sandspit needs to stay strong, as indicated by the turn out to last year’s Ngunguru Sandspit Beach Walk. Come and enjoy the fun!

Get involved in the future of your Sandspit, your place.


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The First Blow!!! PDF Print
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Written by Carex Ecological Services, Facebook   
Saturday, 20 February 2016

The First Blow!!!This big weasel is the first predator to be caught on the Ngunguru Sandspit, one less problem for the unique native fauna out there.

Posted by Carex Ecological Services on Friday, 19 February 2016

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Predator traps on the ground PDF Print
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Written by Carex Ecological Services, Facebook   
Saturday, 06 February 2016

It's been a long time coming but we finally have the first round of predator traps on the ground on the Ngunguru...

Posted by Carex Ecological Services on Friday, 5 February 2016

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No dogs on the beach - updated. PDF Print
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Written by WDC   
Wednesday, 06 January 2016
dog ban map

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Ngunguru Sandspit Reserve and Coast PDF Print
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Written by WDC and DoC   
Wednesday, 06 January 2016
Ngunguru Sandspit Reserve and Coast document

Here's a document that sets out what restrictions, particularly for dogs, exist on the Ngunguru coast, including the sandspit.

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Department of Conservation Report for NSaPS 2015 AGM PDF Print
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Written by Sue Reed-Thomas, DoC Conservation Partnerships Manager, Northland District   
Monday, 21 December 2015

I would appreciate you tendering, on my behalf, the Department’s apologies as we will not be sending a staff member to attend.

I want to assure you that the Department considers the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society as a partner in conservation for this area, even though we have chosen not to attend this particular meeting.  I thought it would be useful to share what the Department is currently doing that reflects this.

  • The Department’s Conservation Partnerships Director for Northern North Island, Nicola Douglas, and myself recently met with the executive committee.  The Executive shared the aspirations of the society, including its desire to work in partnership with community, nga hapu o Pimanu, and the Department.  Nicola is supportive of us developing this relationship locally, and even provided some ideas about how this three way partnership has been achieved in another location.
  • The Department invited the NSaPS to submit a full application to the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund after receiving its expression of interest.  This application is currently being considered and decisions are expected to be announced by the end of August.
  • The Department and NSaPS are developing a management agreement, which describes the relationship we seek to have and will authorise the Society to undertake certain activities on the sandspit.  A full draft is expected to be sent to the Society within the next two weeks.  A key component of the agreement will be ensuring health and safety of volunteers and public while undertaking these activities, so the Society will need to develop a health and safety plan.  A template for this will be sent next week, and the Department will offer some support to the Society to understand this if needed.
  • Once the agreement is signed, a Department staff member will be named to manage this relationship in accordance with the Agreement.  They will become a key point of contact for the Society.  They will implement an annual planning process with the Society so that each year we are both clear about what the Society seeks to do, ensuring they are authorised to do that, and which of those things we might be working on together.

The Department is looking forward to entering a new phase of its work with the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society and the Tangata Whenua of the area.

Please feel free to share my comments with those attending the AGM.

Naku noa na

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