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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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Our New Zealand A to Z - Ngunguru PDF Print
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Written by Radio NZ, Afternoons, Simon Mercep   
Thursday, 11 June 2015
Ngunguru. Photo: Menno Huibers

N is for Ngunguru, a small but perfectly formed village sitting right on the southern end of the Tutukaka Coast.


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More pipi deaths under investigation in north PDF Print
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Written by Radio NZ, Morning Report, Lois Williams   
Thursday, 11 June 2015

Originally aired on Morning Report, Thursday 11 June 2015

The Northland community of Ngunguru is calling for a moratorium or rahui on local pipi beds after a mass die-off last month.

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Sandspit Waste Audit: The Results are In PDF Print
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Written by Loren Hope, Ngunguru School   
Thursday, 21 May 2015

A fantastic morning was had by all, at this years annual sandspit walk, and we are grateful to each of you who helped to remove rubbish from this precious habitat.

Each year Ngunguru School audits the rubbish collected by the community on this walk, as a part of their earthEd programme.

Once the rubbish is laid out, and the sorting and counting begins, the reality of just how much rubbish is out there floating around in the sea hits home in a big way for the students. Even on our 'pristine' coastline, we have a problem and our wildlife and habitat are under threat.

This year, there were a total of 998 individual pieces of countable rubbish removed from the sandspit in the space of just 2 hours (There were also at least a few hundred tiny pieces that were difficult for the students to count, but which would be of major impact on birds and fish).

Food Related Waste: 364 pieces
Household Related Waste: 282 pieces
Fishing Related Waste: 255 pieces
Industry Related Waste/ Other: 97 pieces

This is a lot of rubbish coming in from the sea and out from the land. We are voted as one of the top coastal destinations in the world. Lets all help to keep up this reputation by demonstrating how we care for and protect our local habitat and wildlife. What can you and your family do to help?

  • Always take a bag with you to the beach to remove any rubbish you find.
  • Pick up any rubbish you find on the streets - Drains lead to the sea.
  • Be aware when fishing that fishing lines and other waste that goes overboard has a massive impact on fish, dolphins, whales, turtles, birds and other sealife.
  • Be a conscientious shopper, support products that have the least packaging possible.
  • Pack zero waste lunches for school and work.
  • Think- Do I really need this plastic bag? Perhaps we could become a plastic bag free coastal community!

We would like you, your business or organisation to become a Friend of earthEd at Ngunguru School and help our children to be active in caring for the habitats that make up our special, world class coastal eco-system. The vision is of a community project and is in no way limited to school families. You will receive an email at the beginning of each term outlining the learning sessions and action days for the weeks to follow, and how you might like to become involved and learn new skills with us. Please come aboard and join us in our journey. Help to grow our kaitiaki and future leaders.

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Sandspit walk poster PDF Print
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Written by Linda Donaldson, NSaPS   
Friday, 27 February 2015

Sandspit Walk 2015 poster

Download poster (.DOC, 540kB)

Download poster (.PDF, 280kB)

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Calling all beachcombers! Ngunguru Sandspit Beach Walk PDF Print
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Written by Linda Donaldson, NSaPS   
Friday, 27 February 2015

It’s time again for the popular Ngunguru Sandspit Beach Walk. This year Sunday 29th of March is set for this fun community event with free boat crossings to the sandspit from 10am at Te Maika Road near Ngunguru School.

Walking on the sandspit, people can appreciate the spectacular ocean beach and Ngunguru Bay, as well as get a feel for what is a vulnerable dune landscape supporting endangered wildlife. Keep to the low tide mark look for while not disturbing the variety of birdlife – dotterels, oyster catchers, godwits, Caspian terns, black backed gulls, 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. Those without boats can catch a ride with our “boaties” who’ve kindly volunteered to ferry people. Don’t forget to bring a life jacket.

People first need to register at the marquee, then there’s a rolling start ferrying people to the sandspit from 10 to 11.30am. Beach combing for rubbish will be a focus with final ferry transport back to Te Maika Road at 12.30pm. Rubbish collection will be audited by students from Ngunguru School as part of their Earth Ed programme.

While weed management to promote stabilising native plants, as well as control of pest such as stoats, cats and dogs to protect nesting shore bird is still pending, the community support and interest in the Ngunguru Sandspit stays strong, as indicated by the turn out each year to the Ngunguru Sandspit Beach Walk.

Local hapu, DoC and NSaPS – Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society are working to restore and protect the natural character and future of Pimanu/Ngunguru Sandspit. The sandspit has many faces: beauty, wildlife, remoteness, wild ocean-side, quiet estuary-side, and special characteristics that link ocean, river, coastal forest, and shore community of Ngunguru Sandspit.

Ngunguru annual Sandspit Walk is a fun event with a conservation wish at the heart of it. We’re looking forward to another big community turnout.

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DoC boss retires for family time PDF Print
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Written by Northern Advocate   
Tuesday, 10 February 2015
One of Chris Jenkins proudest achievements was getting the Ngunguru Sandspit returned to public ownership in 2011.

Whangarei-based Northland Department of Conservation boss Chris Jenkins has retired after 37 years of public service.

Before working in Whangarei, Mr Jenkins held a variety of management positions in the Bay of Plenty, including six years as conservator Bay of Plenty, conservator Northland and his current role, director of conservation services for the Northern North Island. He has been based in Whangarei for the past 11 years.

One of Chris Jenkins proudest achievements was getting the Ngunguru Sandspit returned to public ownership in 2011.

"I love DoC, Northland and the people I have had the privilege to work with and, after 37 years, it is time for me to take time for myself and my family," Mr Jenkins said.

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