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Home arrow Other Coastlines arrow Te Arai / Mangawhai arrow Community saves coast
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Other Coastlines - Te Arai / Mangawhai
Written by ASB Community Trust - Te Kaitiaki Putea o Tamaki o Tai Tokerau   
Tuesday, 24 June 2008

A catastrophic collapse of the dunes in Northland’s Mangawhai Harbour in 1988 left the harbour “a putrid mess”.

Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society chair Graham MacKenzie says sand mining destabilised the dunes. The harbour entrance closed and the sea breached the dunes.

“The ecology of the Mangawhai Harbour began to die, as there was insufficient water flow to flush the harbour of toxins. The harbour was a putrid mess,” he says.

For four years the community tried to negotiate with local authorities for help.

“The Mangawhai Community is famous for taking matters into our own hands and in 1991, in the stealth of the night, we assembled our diggers, graders, trucks and shovels and in excess of 100 people tried to reopen our harbour. We failed,” he says.

However, it brought the statutory authorities to the negotiating table. The community established the restoration society, which has raised nearly $2m for restoration work.

They dredged the inner harbour and closed off the dune breach. Native plants were grown to stabilise dunes and since 1992 volunteers have planted 1.2 million plants.

“In 2004 the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society campaigned to stop the sand mining of our harbour and, at a cost of $260,000, won an Environment Court decision to stop the issue of new licences.”

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