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Home arrow Other Coastlines arrow Te Arai / Mangawhai arrow Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society
Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society PDF Print
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Written by DoC   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008


In 1978 a severe easterly storm battered the Mangawhai Harbour Sandspit (being Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge) opening up the South Breach. Mangawhai Harbour started to back fill with sand at an estimated rate of 100,000 m3 per year. By 1990 sedimentation of the North Entrance intensifies and by the end of the year the entrance blocks, resulting in stagnant waste in the area of 'Picnic Bay' increasing. By 1991, volunteers take ownership of the problem and re open the North Entrance, the "Big Dig" involving over 40 machines. 

Applications for a sandbagging licence was approved, a dredge was purchased named "The Spirit of Mangawhai". The MHRS gained a dredging license and begin the long journey of replacing sand back onto the Sandspit and have continued with fierce dedication to maintain its integrity to this day and into the future.  A close working relationship with the Department of Conservation has yielded fantastic results; the restoration and enhancement of the Sandspit through dredging and depositing sand in crucial places, new plantings to support the sand deposits, pest control and weed control programmes implemented to protect these plantings.

The MHRS and community volunteers have achieved all the work on the ground. One of our rarest and nationally critical birds the New Zealand fairy tern breeds on the Sandspit and has found the dredging deposits to be a very satisfactory substrate to nest on. Birds nested in two deposit areas this season 06/07. Mangawhai Wildlife Refuge is Northland's stronghold many endemic, endangered shorebirds that frequent the spit each year to breed, such as Northern NZ dotterel and Variable Oyster Catcher.

The work carried out by the MHRS has prevented an ecological disaster and has ensured a future for the many bird species, native, endemic and migratory, whom depend on this habitat for survival.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 June 2008 )
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