Your firm but fair local fire chief, Jo Adams, has his eye on Opoutere and Ohui this Easter weekend. There has not been enough sustained rainfall to relieve the dry conditions in the beach reserve forest. The risk of a catastrophic fire is still very real, even though the days are getting cooler and other areas are lifting their fire bans. There is a detailed fire evacuation notice in the Waiponga Reserve carpark – take the time to read and understand it.
There will be regular beach patrols undertaken this weekend – keep your eyes peeled for the Onemana Rural Fire Force trucks as they travel through the village. Don’t hesitate to call 111 immediately if you see any fires on the beach or near the forest – then call Jo on 027 4493034. The Onemana volunteer fire fighters (all fully trained first responders) live locally and know the area well – they will be there in minutes.
Be safe and have a wonderful Easter weekend.
There’s a few interesting things happening in the neighbourhood – Thames Coromandel District Council’s Shoreline Management Plan needs community input, Waikato Regional Council is reviewing the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan and the rejuvenated Opoutere Hall Society is soon having its AGM.
There’s even a chance to have your say on a bus service proposal!
“Our online meetings to update an initial group of our communities on our Shoreline Management Plans are underway.
These are important meetings to discuss how we propose managing the hazards from climate change and sea level rise in these areas. It is also to share specific plans for each of these stretches of coastline that have been developed over the three year SMP project.
In some communities, we are discussing maintaining or improving the existing defences.
In others we have done a feasibility study on building new structures.
The proposed strategy in some of our communities is to retreat from the area in the future.
It is very important that you understand what is being discussed in your area.
Links to online meeting recordings that have occurred so far.
Watch the recording of our Te Puru meeting – Tuesday 5 April.
Watch the Tararu meeting – Wednesday 6 April
Watch the Tairua meeting – Thursday 7 April
Whangamatā (south)Tuesday 12 April at 7pm Click to join Whangamatā meeting
Once you have attended a meeting or reviewed the adaptation pathways, you can provide your feedback by clicking on this link and using our feedback tool.
Or you can email us at ourcoast@ tcdc.govt.nz”
Getting it right for our coasts | Kia tika ai mō te takutai
Waikato Regional Council has been reviewing its Regional Coastal Plan with input from iwi, coastal residents and users, industry and other key stakeholders on the issues and gaps they’ve identified with the current plan.
The feedback focused on important issues like how we balance social, cultural and economic values with environmental requirements, how we can guard against the loss of public access, protect indigenous biodiversity and the historic heritage along our coasts, how we will respond to the impacts of climate change, and manage things like coastal erosion and coastal inundation.
We’ve used this feedback, along with statutory requirements, to inform our approach to sustainably manage our region’s coastal marine area which we’re now ready to test with you to make sure we’re on the right track.
This is your chance to have your say on key policy within the coastal plan. The feedback you share will help shape a full draft of the coastal plan which we anticipate will be notified for public submission in late 2022.
Feedback is being sought by the end of April 2022: https://yourvoicematters.waikatoregion.govt.nz/coastal-plan-review
This is a great opportunity for Opoutere to communicate to WRC our values and concerns – think about how the estuary has silted up, for example. This is a chance to draw attention to such problems.
The hall has a “steering committee” that is getting ready for its first AGM on the 17th April where the official committee will be elected. Please see below for their inaugural report that includes the email list of the executive if you have any queries for them.
This is from Denis Tegg, Thames Coromandel constituent member on Waikato Regional Council:
“Waikato Regional Council has proposals for new public transport bus services in Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki and is seeking public feedback. These include return connections between Coromandel town and east coast towns to Thames and from Waihi Beach-Waihi-Paeroa-Ngatea to Thames. There would also be a new service from Thames through Te Aroha to Hamilton (hospital).
The regional council is also asking for comment on a proposal to take over rating for public transport from district councils.
It would be great if you could provide feedback and maybe some group you belong to could participate also. Feedback ends on 30 April.
A quick feedback questionnaire is online here –
More information is here – https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/council/policy-and-plans/long-term-council-community-plan-annual-plan-and-annual-report/ltp-amendment/ “
From Thames Coromandel District Council:
“Ex-Tropical Cyclone Cody is due to bring gale force winds, huge seas, and heavy rainfall between Sunday night through to next Tuesday.
Our Council’s Emergency Management Team is advising everyone to plan and be in a safe place by late afternoon on Sunday with supplies for last for 24 hours, including provisions if power is out for some time.
Campervans and motorhomes need to move away from the coast for the next two days and park up at two safe locations; the Mercury Bay Sports Park in Whitianga, or the Shoppers carpark next to Goldfields Mall in Thames.
Beach access to Cathedrel Cove may be restricted due to increased swell from the approaching cyclone. Rangers will make desicions on access on a day-by-day basis.
“Travelling during the storm will likely be hazardous. Err on the side of caution and be in a safe place by Sunday evening” says Garry Towler, our Emergency Management Manager.
Updates will be posted here as they come to light, and will also be shared on our Council Facebook page, and sent to our e-newsletter subscribers as they come to light. Be sure to like or follow our Facebook page to receive notifications or sign up to our e-newsletter database to remain up to date. “
Now is a good time to put this number in your phone:
Jo Adams and his crew are fully-trained first responders and can attend any type of emergency. Call the above number after dialling 111 and the crew, several of whom live in Opoutere/Ohui, can be with you very quickly.
At this time of year the forest and surrounding areas are tinder dry and the threat of fire is top of everyone’s mind. Any sign or smell of fire – call 111 then call the Onemana crew.
Water/beach emergencies have increased this summer – please keep an eye on other people in the surf, many visitors may not be familiar with the changeable beach conditions and can easily get into trouble. Opoutere/Ohui does not have a surf patrol, the nearest patrolled beaches are Onemana and Whangamata.
Stay safe, everyone.
What a year it has been – these months and months of bach-owners being away from our beloved Opoutere left the beach and the village unusually quiet – especially on the beach where nesting birds got on with hatching their eggs in relative peace and tranquility. It will be wonderful to see familiar faces over the summer – if you’re using a mask don’t forget to flick the eyebrows up in a friendly greeting!
TCDC COVID Requirements – please visit the TCDC website for up to date details on how to stay safe in the district this summer.
Fire Ban – a total fire ban applies in the Coromandel from late December to early February each year. This is particularly important in Opoutere/Ohui as the beach reserve forest is dry and has many dead trees that pose a catastrophic fire risk.
Opoutere is very lucky to have an active local volunteer fire force based in Onemana. We appreciate that they give up many hours of their own time and would willingly put themselves in dangerous situations to keep us all safe. Give a thumbs up to the yellow trucks patrolling through the village and along the beach over the summer.
Please keep your eyes open and don’t hesitate to dial 111 if you see fire. Explore permits and rules here: checkitsalright.nz and stay safe over summer.
Dotterel Watch – stop by the bus shelter to add your name to the roster for the busy holiday period. It’s a lovely opportunity to spend a couple of hours minding the low-tide feeding grounds on the spit, spotting baby dotterels is a bonus.
Dogs on the beach – Unlike the summer changes in rules for dogs on other local beaches please note that Opoutere’s dog control rules are the same year-round – dogs on lead on the beach north of the campground entrance (yellow benches), dogs banned on the beach south of the campground entrance and on the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge (spit area), dogs on lead on the path from Waiponga Reserve carpark to the campground, dogs off-lead in the forest. Take a minute to familiarise yourself with the map in the Waiponga Reserve carpark. From TCDC:
“The most important rule to remember is that dogs must be on lead unless specified otherwise. So, when in doubt, put your dog on a lead.”
ORRA AGM – 9.30am Sunday 2nd January 2022, Opoutere School.
As the Coromandel has entered the traffic light framework at orange, the ORRA Committee has agreed that we can proceed with the AGM at this stage. It will be held in the Opoutere School senior classroom (not the hall as previously notified) on 2 January 2022, for fully vaccinated attendees only who will be required to scan-in using the school’s QR code, and to show their My Vaccine Pass.
We will also ask for masks to be worn; there will be no organised socialising after the AGM,
and the meeting itself will run to a strict timetable.
Should the Coromandel Traffic Lights Protection Framework turn Red before 2 January 2022
the ORRA AGM will be postponed – possibly to Easter.
Regatta Postponed To Easter – out of an abundance of caution, due to the COVID situation, the decision has been made to postpone the annual regatta to Easter.
Summer Rubbish and Recycling Schedule – the summer collection schedule begins on Monday 27 December 2021 and ends Saturday 12 February 2022.
For all the details please follow this link to the TCDC website.
Support Swappa Pottle – A New Compost Initiative
Check out the Whangamata Resource Recovery Trust Compost 2 Go Project. Fill a pottle with plant and kitchen scraps this summer…don’t add to the landfill. Phone 027 286 5709 for your Swappa Pottle!
Local Music Events – just along the main road towards Whangamata there’s going to be three outdoor events held at popular venue Joe’s Farm. Coro-Events are holding Sundown (02 January), DanceFarm (08 January) and Kickdown (20-23 January).
Support Local Business – share the love!
Grab a copy of the Whangamatā News for local news and details of many local tradespeople and service providers. It’s a terrific publication full of interesting articles and useful information – online copies can be found here or on Facebook @Whanganews
Hear the options and have your say
We are now at a new stage in our major Shoreline Management Plan project. The project aims to ensure we have thriving and resilient communities and coastlines as our climate changes.
We will shortly need public input on the options for protecting and managing our coastline in response to our changing climate.
What is happening?
We have four Coastal Panels working to reduce our coastal flooding and erosion risks.
This important work will recommend a range of sustainable measures so we can adapt to the impacts of coastal hazards in each of our geographic areas on the Coromandel.
We have identified the erosion and inundation risks to your specific area of coastline. You can explore these on our interactive Risk Assessment Summary tool at tcdc.govt.nz/smp
The coastal panels are now at the “what should we be doing” stage of the project.
The options being considered range from soft solutions, such as dune restoration and wetland regeneration, to hard solutions, such as stop banks and rock walls or retreat.
There will be public meetings from 23 October to help our communities understand which options may be the right ones for each stretch of coastline, and to listen to public views on these.
At the meetings we will explain the erosion and inundation risks to your specific area of coastline.
What can you do?
Familiarise yourself with our SMP Project tcdc.govt.nz/smp and understand our coastal hazards.
Attend the public meeting in your area.
Welcome to Level 4 Lockdown 2021 – hopefully everyone is safely at home while the Coromandel waits to see how this Delta outbreak plays out.
If you need a Covid test check this link: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/covid-19/waikato/whangamata/ and call the Whangamata Medical Centre.
To book a vaccination follow this link: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/gps-accident-urgent-medical-care/gp/whangamata-medical-centre/
While the Coromandel is in Level 4 Lockdown your local first responder teams are still at the ready to help their community deal with any emergencies that may occur. Jo Adams, chief of the Onemana Rural Fire team, has carefully restructured his teams to protect them from possible exposure to Covid19 and to ensure the team always has people available to help. The community can support these important volunteers by not doing anything that adds risk to their day – Jo wants people to be careful around the house (and the shed) to minimise the callouts to first responders. He worries about ladders, power tools, outdoor fires/braziers etc. Basically – don’t do anything stupid and to quote Jo from an earlier interview “Be bloody careful”.
We isolate now, so when we come back together, no-one is missing.
ORRA’s 2021 AGM and 60th Anniversary
Saturday January 2nd 2021, 9.30am at Opoutere School
ORRA was founded in 1961, making 2021 our 60th Anniversary. Incredible when you think about it. It’s rare for a community group to have such a long and proud history and record of achievements.
So it’s our pleasure to invite you to the 2021 60th Anniversary AGM at 9.30am, SaturdayJanuary 2 at the Opoutere School hall. It will be very special and we will be taking a moment to celebrate the past and look forward to the future (of course, everyone’s welcome!). There’ll be a morning tea and even some bubbles and orange juice as a small celebration.
As the years go by the battle to keep Opoutere’s unique and unspoiled nature has become more important than ever. Please feel free to invite any friends and family who aren’t members yet and who would like to come along and perhaps become involved in our ongoing projects to preserve and restore this special place.
And we’d also like to thank you for all your support during this past year, and the many years before it, and look forward to seeing you at this special AGM.
Feel free to contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
Dotterel Watch Roster
The dotterels/tuturiwhatu are happily nesting along the length of the beach, and are safely contained by the perimeter fence on the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge at the mouth of the estuary. However, the holiday season brings with it lots of visitors who may not understand the precious space that these birds need to feed their chicks and themselves.
Please help these hard-working little families to have a successful breeding season by signing up to do a dotterel watch session out on the spit. The roster is up on the bus shelter notice board and there are official t-shirts available to wear while you do your duty. Look inside the bus shelter for a red bag containing t-shirts, hats, and useful information and stickers to take out with you. The stickers are great to give to kids.
Base yourself on the inside of the spit next to the big DOC detour sign and divert people over the boardwalk through the dunes to the ocean beach. This allows the dotterels undisturbed access to good feeding at low tide.
Take a book, sunscreen, bug repellant and a pair of binoculars if you have them. If you have any questions feel free to call Dave Burbage (ph 027 495 7734), a local DOC volunteer who has been hard at work in the Wildlife Refuge. Dave works alongside our official DOC dotterel ranger, Stewart, maintaining the fencing, protecting the chicks from predators and educating people about the birds.
The World Famous Opoutere Regatta
No doubt you’ve all been training madly, anticipating the fierce competition that we’ve all come to expect from our neighbours and friends at the Opoutere Regatta in Bruce’s Bay. There’ll be bucket races for the smallest athletes and the usual swimming and kayaking races for the rest of us.
This year the regatta will take place on the afternoon of Sunday 3rd January with the traditional prizegiving and bbq in the Michael King Reserve in the early evening. Keep your eyes peeled for posters around the village with all the details.
Please have a good look at the evacuation plan that is pinned up on the bus shelter and on a large sign by the beach access carpark. Every summer brings the risk of a catastrophic fire in the beach reserve forest and it is important to know how to stay safe in such an event. You may have also received one in your letterbox (mine got squashed but it’s still good!) pin it up where your household can see it.
Stay safe, drive carefully and we will see you on the beach.
Meri Kirihimete, Season’s Greetings, Manuia le Kirisimasi, Joyeux Noël, Fröhliche Weihnachten!
It is with much sadness that we note the passing of former resident and ORRA Life Member Bruce Collier. Bruce was a beloved and respected member of the community who made countless contributions to the people and environment of the area during his life, such as building the walkway bridging the hairpin bend opposite his house and the many benches and sitting spots dotted around Opoutere. So much so that the inlet and reserve near his former house has become known informally as “Bruce’s Bay”.
His famous yellow benches at the beach entrance carry small plaques for both Bruce and his late wife Esmae (also pictured above), and have been recently repainted up by Val and Tom Herbert. From there, with the sweeping view of the beach, it’s a wonderful place to take a moment to honour and remember them both.
ORRA sends its condolences and warmest regards to Susan and the Collier family.
New Zealand moved into Covid 19 Alert Level 2 on Wednesday 13 May and is likely to remain so over Queen’s Birthday weekend.
Daily life is reclaiming its familiar rhythms – rubbish collections are almost back to normal (see note on recycling below) and local businesses are welcoming back their long-lost clients – albeit under the latest Covid 19 Alert Level 2 restrictions. Help these businesses to recover from the lockdown by shopping locally when you can.
It’s a good time to acknowledge the essential workers in the community who did their jobs under the most challenging conditions – our elderly were looked after, supermarket shelves were stocked, the Whangamata medical centre operated as normal as well as running a CBAC (Community Based Assessment Centre) for Covid19 testing and first responder services busily rostered their teams under social distancing rules and helped out in the community where needed.
Easter and Anzac Day passed with just the locked-down locals here to mark the occasions, it has been very strange to see so many empty houses, day after day, week after week. It will be great to see familiar faces returning to Opoutere and Ohui over Queen’s Birthday weekend. By then more rain will have fallen and your water tanks will be topped up in time for the long weekend. (All rain dances appreciated.)
While all paper, cardboard and tins can be put in your recycling bin and glass in the smaller bins TCDC are restricting the plastic they are accepting. From TCDC:
“Most hard plastics have a number on the bottom in a triangle made of arrows. The number refers to the type of plastic. Typical examples of plastics 1 and 2 are milk bottles, drink bottles, food jars, personal cosmetics.
The best way to be sure of the plastic type is to LOOK FOR THE NUMBER. If the number is not 1 or 2, or if there is no number, put it in your general rubbish.
The recycle.co.nz website has good information on identifying recyclable plastics.”
Thanks to the work of a dedicated team of DOC rangers and community volunteers the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge on the harbour spit has had a successful breeding season this summer. The spit refuge has provided a safe breeding site for many species of sea and shore birds since 1967 when it was gazetted under the Wildlife Act 1953 as a wildlife refuge.
Home to the northern NZ dotterel (the NNZD is now classified as “At Risk – recovering”) the spit also accommodates variable oystercatchers, Caspian terns, wrybills, pied stilts and southern black-backed and red-billed gulls, among others.
In the 2019/2020 breeding season DOC officers Frouk and Stewart were ably assisted by Dave Burbage, a local volunteer. They were a familiar sight all along the beach and particularly on the spit – they shared information with the public, monitored nests, checked predator traps and erected protective fencing around the spit area. Over the busy Christmas and New Year period rostered volunteers from the community protected the nesting birds from human and dog disturbance by watching the entrance to the spit at low tide.
Dogs on the beach are banned year round south of the main beach entrance (look for those yellow benches) all the way to the estuary mouth. Please obey the signs and keep this area a peaceful and safe place for the birds.
This is the only shoreline wildlife refuge on the whole Coromandel Peninsula. Let’s take care of it and the birds that call it home.
Visit this website’s page on The Birds of Opoutere which includes an in-depth report on Opoutere’s birdlife authored by Dr John Dowding (ecologist and bird expert).
During the 2019/2020 breeding season the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge had 13 nesting pairs and successfully fledged 16 chicks.
“From 46 sites throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, 227 breeding pairs were monitored this season. 213 chicks fledged giving a productivity value of 0.94 (Productivity = Fledgling numbers divided by Pair numbers). Productivity is considered effective if the value of 0.5 or higher is achieved for at least 3 consecutive years (Dowding & Davis, cited in Bryant, 2013).
2014/2015 through to 2019/2020 seasons have exceeded the necessary 0.5 rate. 2017/2018 was only just below the effective productivity value with 0.49 due largely to the major storm that occurred in January 2018.”
For results for all the monitored beaches around the Coromandel have a look at Results 2020.
There’s an exciting new program focused on adaptive management of coastal forestry buffers being trialled in the Opoutere dunes in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and local iwi, with support from the community.
Tāne’s Tree Trust’s vision is to see the majority of New Zealand landowners successfully planting and sustainably managing indigenous trees. For details on this specific project visit their website.
Selected sites in the coastal forest reserve have been identified for low-impact trial plantings of several species of native seedlings. The knowledge gained will help to improve biodiversity in the ecosystems around coastal forestry blocks.
Some planting has already taken place at Ohui where members of the community stepped up with gumboots and spades to get several circular plots planted out. A recent visit by the trust’s scientists showed surprisingly good survival rates over the very dry summer (titoki planted in sand were doing very well).
Further planting will take place during 2020 at two small sites in the beach reserve forest – TTT are keen for members of the community to come along and help out with the planting. They do mention that the plants may end up looking a bit ratty and sad – don’t be alarmed, this is all part of the test!
This time last year Opoutere was jumping – boats putted about the harbour, the beach was busy, the carpark was packed with freedom campers and the supermarket was thronging with locals and visitors all clamouring for last-minute supplies.
2020 finds Opoutere so quiet it’s perfectly normal to see white-faced herons strolling down the middle of the road.
This year there are police checkpoints around the Coromandel turning away people heading to their holiday homes and locals are keeping an eye on empty properties to make sure there are no surprise arrivals midway through the national lockdown.
Thames Coromandel District Council have sent out multiple emails imploring people to stay in isolation and not attempt a late-night dash to their bach. It increases the risk of community spread and threatens the capacity of local health services. The message is clear – wherever you started the lockdown is where you should stay until it’s over.
TCDC’s Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler explains the various stages of human response during a crisis event like the one we are all in at the moment.
“The graph (above) is an internationally acclaimed picture of what happens to us before, during and after a disaster,” says our Civil Defence Controller Garry Towler. “While modelled on crises such as 9-11, major cyclones, tsunamis and earthquakes, it is very relevant for us today in the COVID-19 emergency as it has a wide impact on all of us.”
See the section below “Phases of a disaster”, for the full explanation.
“Right now, we’re in the honeymoon phase and over the next few weeks we’ll be heading into the disillusionment phase, the most important phase in terms of how we look after ourselves, families and friends,” says Mr Towler.
Phase 1: The pre-disaster phase –characterised by fear and uncertainty. The specific reactions a community experiences depend on the type of disaster. Disasters with no warning can cause feelings of vulnerability and lack of security; fears of future, unpredicted tragedies; and a sense of loss of control or the loss of the ability to protect yourself and your family. On the other hand, disasters with warning can cause guilt or self-blame for failure to heed the warnings. The pre-disaster phase may be as short as hours, or even minutes, such as during a terrorist attack, or it may be as long as several months, such as during a hurricane season.
Phase 2: Impact phase – characterised by a range of intense emotional reactions. As with the pre-disaster phase, the specific reactions also depend on the type of disaster that is occurring. Slow, low-threat disasters have psychological effects that are different from those of rapid, dangerous disasters. As a result, these reactions can range from shock to overt panic. Initial confusion and disbelief typically are followed by a focus on self-preservation and family protection. The impact phase is usually the shortest of the six phases of disaster.
Phase 3: Heroic phase – characterised by a high level of activity with a low level of productivity. During this phase, there is a sense of altruism, and many community members exhibit adrenaline-induced rescue behaviour. As a result, risk assessment may be impaired. The heroic phase often passes quickly into phase 4.
Phase 4: Honeymoon phase – characterised by a dramatic shift in emotion. During the honeymoon phase, disaster assistance is readily available. Community bonding occurs. Optimism exists that everything will return to normal quickly. As a result, numerous opportunities are available for providers and organisations to establish and build rapport with affected people and groups, and for them to build relationships with stakeholders. The honeymoon phase typically lasts only a few weeks.
Phase 5: Disillusionment phase – is a stark contrast to the honeymoon phase. During the disillusionment phase, communities and individuals realise the limits of disaster assistance. As optimism turns to discouragement and stress continues to take a toll, negative reactions, such as physical exhaustion or substance use, may begin to surface. The increasing gap between need and assistance leads to feelings of abandonment. Especially as the larger community returns to business as usual, there may be an increased demand for services, as individuals and communities become ready to accept support. The disillusionment phase can last months and even years. It is often extended by one or more trigger events, usually including the anniversary of the disaster.
Phase 6: Reconstruction phase – characterised by an overall feeling of recovery. Individuals and communities begin to assume responsibility for rebuilding their lives, and people adjust to a new “normal” while continuing to grieve losses. The reconstruction phase often begins around the anniversary of the disaster and may continue for some time beyond that. Following catastrophic events, the reconstruction phase may last for years.
A set of tools for coping with the effects of COVID-19 and the Alert Level 4 lock down on our mental health has been released. Getting Through Together is an online resource divided into subjects such as parenting and whānau, workplace wellbeing, te ao Māori and identity and culture, and offers articles, tips, questionnaires, activities and games delivered in a range of formats. Phone numbers for services such as Lifeline and Healthline can also be found on the site.
“If you, or any members of your family and friends are struggling with emotions or feeling the pressure of the sudden change to life, then talk about it don’t hold it in and let it build up,” says our Mayor Sandra Goudie. “We are in isolation, but we are not isolated.”
Your local services are also able to offer with support such as shoppers, food parcels, hospital travel assistance and more:
“We are very pleased to have the first CBAC up and running on the East Coast,” says our Civil Defence Controller, Garry Towler. “I encourage all residents on the South Eastern Ward (Whangamata, Onemana, Opoutere, Hikuai, Tairua, Pauanui and surrounds) who are concerned or anxious that they may have COVID-19, to go along and have a chat, then they can take you in for further assessment.”
Whangamata – Memorial Hall, 326 Port Road (pictured below):
All GPs can offer COVID-19 assessments too as well as the following primary care organisations who are offering extended hours:
Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki Thames:
8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Sunday
210 Richmond Rd
Ph: 07 868 0033
Ph: 0508 835 676
Click here for more information.
The lovely people at Civil Defence Waikato have shared their favourite HCB recipe:
“We’ve got the recipe you’ve been waiting for! Maria from The River Kitchen has kindly supplied us with her egg-stra special hot cross buns recipe. A perfect activity for you and your ‘bubble’ to make in your nest this Easter! Maria like many of us is in lockdown and finding more time to bake, and enjoy being at home more than usual, her advice is that ‘self retreat is a treat’. So fill your home up with the smell of these scrummy buns this Easter. Hop to it!🤤🐣🐇
Here are the ingredients:
Get all your ingredients ready to go first.
Place the milk and butter into a pot and melt gently. Take off the heat. Be patient and let it cool to lukewarm. Then add the yeast and stir. Put the pot lid on and let it stand for 10 minutes.
Mix the dried fruits together and add boiling water to cover. Leave to the side.
Mix the dry ingredients together, the flour sugar and spices in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir carefully. Once mixed turn out onto a clean bench.
Squeeze out the dried fruit mix reserving the liquid to reduce later as the glaze.
Add the dried fruits to the spiced mixture on the bench and nicely blend and knead the mixture together. Takes about 10 minutes. Add a little flour if you need to.
Place back in the bowl and loosley glad wrap or place a tea towel on top. Leave it to rise until double in size. Depending on how warm your house is, this can take some time, patience is needed again.
Now for the fun part. Divide the dough into about 12 -16 balls. Roll carefully and place on to a tray for the oven. Leave the buns to rise again until double in size.
While all that is going on, place the left-over liquid from the mixed fruits in a pot and reduce to a syrup. Don’t leave it unattended. It won’t take long either.
Make up the mix to go on top. I use half cup of flour and about the same in water to make the mix (almost the consistency of pva glue, old school i know!)
Turn the oven on to 180 degrees and let it warm up.
To make the crosses, place the wet flour mixture into a piping bag, baking paper cone or a zip lock bag with the tip cut off and then the design is up to you.
Place in the oven and cook for 16-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Once out of the oven let them cool slightly, by this time everyone in your home will smell them and want to get one as soon as they can. but, let them cool and brush the glaze on before they all disappear!
Boil the jug for hot water on the fruit but you can use a microwave if you like.
I used a tablespoon, wooden spoon, knife, jug, little bowl, big bowl and a baking tray to make this recipe. Baking paper is also useful along with a zip lock bag for the crosses.
I’m kind of heavy handed with the spices and fruit when it comes to my hot cross buns. You could try adding a few chocolate chips if you like!?
Get the family to help, this is a great activity to do with your kids. Plus it doesn’t matter how they turn out, your house will smell devine and you made them; homemade always tastes better!
Happy baking your stay at home ‘designer’ buns!😆🤤🐇
Maria from The River Kitchen xxx