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Wilding Pines on Ngunguru Sandspit - Now is the time to act! PDF Print
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Dune restoration
Written by Darlene Buckley, Focus Magazine   
Thursday, 11 December 2014

Two views of Ngunguru Sandspit, looking out to Goat Island from the heights.

The upper photo was taken in 2014, the lower photo in 2007, of the Ngunguru Sandspit from the ridge-top above the village. They clearly show how wilding pines have filled in on the sandspit. Wildings are the natural regeneration (seedlings) of introduced trees. In this case, radiata pines from the nearby forestry blocks within the Ngunguru River Catchment. The Ngunguru River Catchment was originally coastal forest. Local Maori peoples lived on the coast and in the forests, utilizing all available resources. As early as 1837, Europeans, on the vessel Buffalo, anchored in the (natural) Tutukaka harbor, and began to fell kauri timber from the Ngunguru Catchment. Jumping ahead to the 20th century: almost all the coastal forest was long-gone, replaced by green paddocks for grazing sheep or cattle. In the 1970s - 80s many of these paddocks were converted to commercial forestry and planted in pinus radiata. It takes 10 years for radiate pines to reach coning age and start producing seed to introduce wildings on the sandspit. The sandspit, with its open dunes, small amount of vegetation and relatively little disturbance was an ideal site, from the point of view of the pine seeds! By the 1990s, a few pine wildings were present. Once these outliers were established, it was just a matter of time (another 10 years or so) before the in-filling of pines really became apparent.

Why are wilding pines a threat to the Ngunguru Sandspit?

  • Disrupt the natural, treeless, dune landscape, changing the character of our coast
  • Disrupt and obscure wide-open vistas out to sea, up and down the coastline, and to the offshore islands
  • Disturb or damage archaeological sites
  • Dominate and degrade the natural vegetation found on dunes; change the soil chemistry
  • When the vegetation is altered, the existence of animals that live on and among the plants is also threatened
  • Dune vegetation and fauna are adapted to strong sunlight; large trees create a shade environment that is unnatural on dunelands
  • Wildings use up to 2400 litres of water per day; they reduce the amount of water in the ground; impacting the native vegetation, animals, and dune environments
  • Wildings change the patterns of wind-blown sand as it moves across the dunes; they are not an effective plant for binding sand and keeping it in the dune system

What can we do about the wilding pines on the sandspit?

  • Remove the big-tree wildings AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. This is a job for professionals --- we dont want anyone getting hurt in the process!
  • Remove seedlings before they begin producing seed.
  • Do as little damage to the dunes as possible during removal operations
  • Replant with appropriate native dune vegetation
  • Monitor the spit to remove pine seedlings as they appear


  1. Baker, J., 2014, The Environmental Effects of Plantation Forestry - The Ngunguru Catchment, Northland, New Zealand. Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand.
  2. Froude, V.A. 2011. Wilding conifers in New Zealand: Status report. Report prepared for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Pacific Eco-Logic, Bay of Islands. 206p.
  3. Ledgard and Langer, 1999, Wilding Prevention Booklet, Guideline #1. Forest Research, MfE.
  4. Northland Regional Council, CoastCare programme

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See Kiwi Released at Tutukaka PDF Print
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Written by Ngaire, Kiwi Coast   
Monday, 03 November 2014

Kiwi returned to wild on Kiwi Coast

Two kiwi will be released at Tutukaka on the Kiwi Coast this Wednesday all welcome

If you have never seen a live kiwi up close, this is an opportunity you won't want to miss!

Come along to Tawapou Coastal Natives, 606 Matapouri Rd on the Tutukaka Coast at 6pm on Wednesday November 5th to see live kiwi released to boost the local population.

Full story...

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AGM minutes and treasurer's report PDF Print
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Written by Unknown and Linda Donaldson, NSaPS   
Sunday, 14 September 2014

AGM minutes

Treasurer's Report

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2014 Secretary's Report for AGM PDF Print
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Written by Cameron McInnes, NSaPS Inc Secretary/Acting Chairman   
Saturday, 13 September 2014

Presented by NSaPS Inc Secretary/Acting Chairman Cameron McInnes


As I have stated before, The NSPS Executive Committee Chair is filled by rotation, This doesn't necessarily have to be the way that we continue to operate and if there was any interest from anyone within the community to fill this position it would be worth having somebody to help drive the society.

As it is, it falls to me as Secretary and acting Chairman to brief the AGM on the current year's activity and to be honest; it hasn't been an easy year for the Executive Committee.

There is a lot of frustration from within the coastal communities at the lack of progress towards any form of management on the public owned land on the spit, frustration which is often vented at the committee members, and whilst this hasn't escalated into the molotov cocktail end of the spectrum, the tone in people's feedback to the committee has definitely changed.

Because of the lack of visible movement, there is also a perception that the Society is in stasis; however this just isn't true. The Executive Committee (along with Jim and Sophie) have put in literally hundreds of volunteer hours in the last year and I would like to take this chance to commend them for their consistency and diligence.

So what have we been doing?

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Behind The Brush, Series 2, Episode 1 - Paratene te Manu PDF Print
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Written by Maori Television   
Monday, 01 September 2014
Paratene te Manu

In this new series of Behind the Brush, we bring to life the stories of tūpuna immortalised by Gottfried Lindauer as told by their descendants. (PREMIERE)

Watch the episode - starts 10 minutes and 20 seconds in.

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Written by Linda Donaldson, NSaPS   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014

AGM, Sunday, 31 August, 2pm, Ngunguru Memorial Hall. All welcome.

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Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington receives Civic Honour PDF Print
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Written by Ngatiwai Trust Board, Scoop   
Friday, 22 August 2014
Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington

Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington delighted to receive 2014 Civic Honour

Ngātiwai elder Paratene Te Manu (Sonny) Wellington says he is delighted and honoured to be one of five recipients of the Whangarei District Councils 2014 Civic Honours this week.

It is just terrific, you dont go through life expecting something like this, so it means a lot to me, Mr Wellington says.

Sonny contributes to the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society on an as required basis

It is a reflection of our community in Ngunguru and Tutukaka and I feel honoured to be recognised in this way. The one thing I would say is that I have always tried to integrate all races around me into our community because the community is made up of the sum of all its parts, not just one, he says.

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environmental effects of plantation forestry - the Ngunguru catchment PDF Print
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Written by Jenny Baker, Wade and Jan Doak, ECO   
Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Ngunguru Catchment, Northland, New Zealand: Case Study

This discussion document compiled by Jenny Baker for ECO developed in response to concerns by local people on the impact of plantation forestry in Northland and whether the operations were meeting New Zealand standards or standards under the international Forest Stewardship Council. That reflects a wider concern that FSC certified plantation forests may not be compliant elsewhere in New Zealand, and that considerable environmental damage from siltation of waterways and other impacts.

For many years local people have held concerns over plantation forestry practices in parts of the Ngunguru catchment in Northland, New Zealand. The management of adverse effects from plantation forestry activities is difficult in the area due to a combination of factors including steep country, highly erodible soils, and periodic high rainfall events.

It is not unusual for forestry operations in Northland New Zealand to be located in sensitive catchments, on both the East and West Coasts. Exotic Forestry covers 14% of the land area in Northland. Based on 2002 and 2007 census data, 2011 sampling, and the recently released Land Cover Database 3, the area in Exotic forest has steadily decreased from 171,000ha to 159,000 ha. (Northland Regional Council, State of the Environment Report 2012).

Extensive planting of exotic (non-native) pines in the 1970s and 1980s on steep land seemingly gave little consideration as to how the logs were to be harvested and the environmental effects of that part of the rotation in particular. The Ngunguru Catchment provides an example of a high environmental risk site for forestry operations in a sensitive catchment.

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Love your Water Northland - Tree Planting & Training Workshops PDF Print
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Written by Saskia, Sustainable Coastlines   
Monday, 09 June 2014

Northland: 9 June to 15 June. Training Workshops, Weds 11 June, Tree Planting, Sun 15 June.

Over the years our experienced team has delivered educational programs to nearly 100,000 people, motivated tens of thousands of volunteers to remove over a million litres of rubbish from the coast, and planted thousands of trees alongside our waterways.

We are now working on building community capacity to address the quality of our waterways and we would love your help. From May to August this winter we are coordinating Love your Water our nationwide Training Workshops and Tree Planting Tour during which we will share our experience in public speaking and event planning, and learn from local groups along the way.​

We will be in Whangarei from 9 June 2014 to 15 June 2014 and would love to see you there. Read below for details of the activities you can get involved in.

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Ngunguru Sandspit Campaign Continues PDF Print
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Written by Cam McInnes, NSaPS   
Friday, 23 May 2014

Last month the Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society (NSaPS)was pleased to host Whangarei MP Hon Phil Heatley on a visit to the Ngunguru Sandspit. The trip involved members of the Society kayaking across the Ngunguru river with Mr Heatley, walking around the base of the sandspit and viewing the coastal forest areas and Whakairiora mountain.

Ngunguru Sandspit Protection Society representative Jim Kilpatrick with Hon Phil Heatley MP

"It is a wild, beautiful place," said NSaPS spokesperson Cameron McInnes "and Mr Heatley was instrumental in helping us get the top end of the sandspit into public ownership and safe from inappropriate development so it was great to be able to get him back out there and show him the unfinished business."

In 2011, 83.4 hectares of the sandspit was acquired by the Crown after prolonged lobbying by NSaPS and the Tutukaka Coast community, however 68 hectares of land at the base of the spit, including Whakairiora mountain remains in private ownership.

"NSaPS has always sought to have these areas of rare and outstanding coastal forest and sand dunes made into reserve land, so many people will be surprised to know that these areas are still at risk of development" said Mr McInnes "this visit gives us a chance to highlight the importance of these areas to our community."

The Society continues to be active with trying to get the remaining Sandspit land and Whakairiora Mountain transferred to public ownership, remaining vigilant in case of moves toward inappropriate development and liaising with DOC and local iwi about a management plan for the 83.4 hectares currently in Crown ownership.

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