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Report from the AGM, 2015 PDF Print
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Written by NSaPS   
Monday, 21 December 2015

The Past

After a land exchange between Crown and private owners part of the Ngunguru Sandspit became Public Conservation Land in 2011. The Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society had led a long, intensive campaign to save this iconic site from inappropriate development. There remained 16 ha of the Sandspit at the base of the adjacent mountain which is in private ownership, at risk from development but in 2011 the community was rejoicing in the success and keen to start work removing weeds and pests. The 83 ha of the Scenic Reserve was under DOC administration but a shared management system was planned for the future with tangata whenua, the community and DOC as partners.

It took longer than expected to get all parties together but the agreement has now been reached that the most urgent need was to work together in order to save the flora and fauna from further degradation. The announcement was made at the 2014 AGM by Hone Tana who was mandated representative of the Te Waiariki Trust Board. We had the go-ahead on behalf of Te Waiariki, Ngati Korora, Ngati Takapari and signed by leaders, Pereri Mahanga, Hone Tana and Paratene Te Manu Wellington.

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No Dogs on the beach PDF Print
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Written by Whangarei District Council   
Thursday, 10 December 2015
image from WDC document regarding dogs on local beaches

In 2013, new rules about dogs on the beach were introduced.

View the document...

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Community conservation boost for Sandspit PDF Print
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Dune restoration
Written by Linda Donaldson   
Sunday, 15 November 2015

Plans to free Ngunguru Sandspit, Pii Manu, of weed and animal pests have been boosted through a $15,000 grant from the DOC Community Fund.

The funding is tagged specifically for removal of the wilding pines and will become available for the financial year starting July 2016.

Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society’s (NSaPS) bid for help towards a larger restoration project coincided with DOC receiving the largest number of applications ever to the fund.

DOC says the fund is directed at practical, on-the-ground projects.

“These projects will maintain and restore the diversity of our natural heritage and enable more people to participate in recreation, enjoy and learn from our historic places, and engage with and value the benefits of conservation.”

The money will enable the first big, joint step of hapu/iwi, NSaPs and the community working together to restore Ngunguru Sandspit, Pii Manu.

Contractors will be necessary on the Sandspit due to the nature of the work and stringent new Health and Safety Regulations.

After the major work of removing the pines and getting rid of noxious weeds is done there will be plenty of scope for volunteers to help by hand pulling seedling weeds to prevent them from becoming a problem later.

Please treat this environmental, historical and cultural treasure with respect. There is an all-year-round Whangarei District Council ban on dogs on Ngunguru Sandspit beaches for conservation purposes. Also, DOC regulations for the Reserve on the Sandspit include: no dogs, vehicles or bikes, camping, fires, litter or horses.

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Bylaw important for bird conservation PDF Print
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Written by Linda Donaldson   
Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Ngunguru Sandspit Shorebird Count, 14 November 2015 report, records lower bird numbers than usual.

This is disappointing and now is a good time to remind people of the WDC bylaw for the Ngunguru Sandspit/Horahora area.

Dogs are prohibited on the entire beach area but are allowed by permit only on the Department of Conservation Land.

DoC's sandspit sign

It is also very important for people to observe the DoC bird nesting signs (the nesting sites are not individually marked or taped off) and people need to be aware that the nests can be where you least expect them and the birds can be nesting from now through to March.

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New DoC signs about nesting birds PDF Print
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Written by Sophie Edwards   
Tuesday, 03 November 2015
DoC's sandspit sign

DoC has provided new signage that will be placed in key positions near and on the sandspit to make people aware of endangered birds' nesting sites on the Ngunguru sandspit.

While our variable oystercatchers and dotterels might appear numerous to some, they are in fact threatened with extinction, so all care needs to be taken to protect them.

DoC's sandspit sign

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Te Reo o te Raki - Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington PDF Print
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Written by Lois Williams, Radio NZ National   
Friday, 23 October 2015
Lois Williams at Ngunguru

In the final segment of the series Te Reo o te Raki (The voices of the north) Lois Williams sits down for a chat with Kaumatua Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington who works tirelessly for his community. From his work as a Chaplain to organising the Kaumatua line dancing sessions, So what makes him tick? Lois finds out.

The quiet kaumatua of the Tutukaka Coast is a busy man. The first time I tried he was booked up several days ahead doing useful stuff like visiting old friends in hospital, attending the school concert; meetings and trimming a mate's trees. He's only 82, after all, he as happy to take charge of the clippers as his mate is apparently not up to it these days. In the end he tells me "Come along to the marae tomorrow - we'll be line-dancing. We can talk there". And so we did, leaving Sonny's wife Rose to ably lead the boot-scooting seniors.

Full story...

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Dune Habitat Workshop - a great learning experience PDF Print
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Written by Loren Hope   
Tuesday, 20 October 2015

An interesting, invigorating and very enjoyable Dunes Habitat workshop was attended by 70 year 5-6 students, parents and community members last week. The workshop, hosted by Ngunguru School and delivered by Northland Regional Council, saw students involved in hands on learning about how a dune habitat functions, the plant and animal biodiversity of our dunes, and pest plants and animals which threaten our coastline.

The workshop, which was very well run by Lisa Forester, Laura Shaft and Sara Brill from NRC, was an exciting step towards the community working together to protect and restore this unique habitat. The school plans to 'adopt' the care for the northern area of Pii Manu with student kaitiaki working towards managing the current Pea Shrub issue and investigating and dealing with other pest species into the future.

Thank you to those who attended and/or had input into the day. The students look forward to working with more of you in the future.

If you are interested in becoming involved with the efforts of Ngunguru School students in working towards community conservation please email Loren Hope lhope(at)




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Report about 2015 NSaPS AGM and treasurer's report PDF Print
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Written by Sophie Edwards   
Sunday, 27 September 2015

Drawn together by a shared interest in preserving and protecting the Sandspit and the adjoining coastal area, people from a wide section of the community gathered together to hear about Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society’s achievements during the past year.

Finding ways to cope with the growing demands on volunteers seems to be affecting many groups and organizations, ours included. In spite of this, NSaPS managed to continue with its two- fold tasks. First, the restoration of the DOC area of the Sandspit designated a Scenic Reserve and the other challenge is to find ways of safeguarding the balance of the Sandspit and Whakairiora Mountain.

Looking for words to describe this past year it could be summed up in a nutshell: close co-operation with partners. This last year has seen increased opportunities for working with tangata whenua, the community and DoC. This has been made possible as at the 2014 AGM Te Waiariki, Ngati Takapari, Ngati Korora approved of the need to start work to restore the sandspit. Working together we are laying the foundation for a future joint management system. It is hoped that the proposed new DOC signage will answer the many questions our volunteers were fielding.

After a site visit by DoC and NSaPS members in December a start was made on plans to restore the Sandspit. Before any work can be undertaken a Memorandum of Understanding has to be completed. This has taken longer than we had hoped! In the mean time work on adjacent private land has started on pest control. The public can be forgiven for asking “What is taking you so long?” The answer might lie partly in that the Health and Safety Reform Bill has been before Parliament and this may have added to the time it is taking to finish the document.

We are grateful for the support received from Tutukaka Coast Ratepayers & Residents Association of $5000 for work on restoring the Spit and the encouraging support for future help from NRC. NSaPS application for funding an initial three-year restoration plan for the Sandspit is currently being considered and a decision is expected to be announced before the end of August.

Environmental education has always been at the core of NSaPS programme. This has taken on a new dimension during the past year with the highly successful EarthEd programme. Plans for an Environmental Awareness Programme are under way. The focus will be on reaching out to whanau and others living in the area accessed by Ngunguru Ford Road.

The protection of the balance of the area at the south end of the Sandspit and the mountain was discussed at meetings with Dr. Shane Reti, Member of Parliament for Whangarei and Nicola Douglas, Director, Conservation Partnerships, DoC.

It is important to mention that we consider it especially important to network with other similar organizations with which we share common interests. This not only creates good understanding but gives added strength with which to face the many challenges. NSaPS successful past ten years gives us confidence that we can continue to build bridges of understanding in the future.

View the treasurer's report.

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Maori language Week, Pii Manu, and the dotterels PDF Print
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Written by Sophie Edwards, Focus Magazine   
Tuesday, 11 August 2015

I see Maori language week is from 27 July to 2 August. This gave me the idea to write about the dotterel and about names in both languages.

Ngunguru Sandspit is occasionally called Pii Manu. Some say it was mainly the northern part of what we call Ngunguru Sandspit that was referred to as Pii Manu by tangata whenua. Others would like this traditional name to be used today for the entire area of the Sandspit. The dictionary definition of manu is bird. The i in the word ‘pii’ is pronounced like the e in email but with a stress marked by a macron over the vowel (ī) or indicated by using a double vowel, two letters ‘ii’. The word ‘pii’ has several meanings—given in the dictionary as bee, chick, pea (the vegetable), and chicken. The sound of this first word is somewhat like the call of birds wheeling in the sky above the sandspit. So we have: chick – bird.

dotterel nest

Soon it will be the nesting season for dotterel. The nest, often just above the high water mark, is difficult to spot so please take extra care. The northern part of the spit is a favourite nesting site.

The Maori name of this bird is Tūturiwhatu pukunui (puku - belly, nui - big ) perhaps it got the name as during the breeding season its colourful front is specially noticeable. Our NZ dotterel is endemic, which means it is found only in New Zealand. Did you know it is the largest dotterel in the world? NZ Dotterel, once widespread and common, are now listed as endangered. Through loss of habitat and increased pressure caused by human activity its numbers have dropped alarmingly.

Our behaviour - walking and letting dogs run through nesting, roosting and feeding shorebirds - has become an increasing problem. Ngunguru Sandspit is Public Conservation Land, designated a Reserve and as such there are DoC regulations in place to protect flora and fauna. Your help is needed. Please follow these guidelines which include no dogs, no vehicles/ bikes, no camping , no fires and no litter on the Reserve. The dotterels and other shorebirds will be able to flourish and survive on Pii Manu with your help.

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Annual General Meeting date set - 26 July, 2pm PDF Print
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Written by Steve Marshall   
Sunday, 28 June 2015

NSaPS AGM is Sunday, 26 July, 2pm in the Ngunguru Memorial Hall. More details to come.

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