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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.

Full story...

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Swimming against the developers PDF Print
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Written by Peter Calder, The New Zealand Herald   
Sunday, 18 January 2015

The bay bears the family name, and Lyall Woolley is determined to keep it as a slice of 20th century summer.

Lyall Woolley and his son Michael on their farm at Woolleys Bay, on the Tutukaka coast. Photo / Peter Calder

It took longer than it should have before I noticed the name on the letterbox in the middle of Woolleys Bay.

In my defence, there was plenty of distraction for a holiday-making visitor. Woolleys is not quite as improbably picture-book as its neighbour, Whale Bay, but it's agreeably underpopulated.

Beyond small dunes stitched together by pingao, the long stretch of almost deserted golden beach is pounded by decent surf, but the sand shelves off sharply and beyond the breakers the water is as clear as soda.

I just don't want it all in development. Pig-headed, I suppose.

The trees at the northern end are busy with tui in territorial disputes and the wings of fat kereru whistle as they lumber through the cool darkness in the branches of the puriri.

Full story...

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Rossbeigh dunes disappearing (May 2013) PDF Print
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Rossbeigh Strand
Written by Kevin Hughes, The Kerryman   
Friday, 16 January 2015

Over five million tonnes of sand lost at mid kerry beach in five years

Erosion at Rossbeigh beach, this photograph was taken soon after the first breach back in December 2008 by David Marmion.

ALMOST five years after fragile dunes were washed into the Atlantic at Rossbeigh Beach, data is still being collected to find out exactly how the collapse occurred and whether a solution can be found to prevent further erosion.

"I'm confident the channel has shifted and moved to the top end of Rossbeigh"

Over five million tonnes of sand have already been lost at the blue flag beach and dunes continue to disappear at an alarming rate. The breach has also left coastal communities, once protected by the spit, dangerously exposed to potential flooding, while conditions underfoot at the northern end of the beach are increasingly treacherous.

The issue was raised at Friday's Killorglin area meeting where local residents repeated their call for action to save the remaining sand dunes.

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Manual control of wilding conifers PDF Print
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Dune restoration
Written by Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust   
Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Manual control, such as felling and ring-barking, has been the traditional means of killing wilding pines in New Zealand. Now, however, in the forested areas of the Marlborough Sounds, felling is generally only recommended for trees of less than 200mm trunk diameter. The felling of larger trees entails land disturbance and damage to surrounding vegetation during control. A felled tree will break down a lot of native vegetation when it falls, and the 'light well' on the forest floor is generally an ideal site for the germination of pine seed. Very often, dozens of young trees can be found growing up around the site of a felled wilding pine. For this reason, trees above 200mm should be killed standing wherever possible. Ring-barking is also now discouraged, as the method has proven slow and unreliable.

Full story...

Other control methods

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December 2014 newsletter PDF Print
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Written by NSaPS   
Monday, 29 December 2014

Download and view the December 2014 newsletter.

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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 1970’s - 80’s 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 don’t 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.

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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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