It’s been a busy year for ORRA. We thought it was about time for an update!
Earlier in the year, Gordon Ikin, our elected chairperson, had to step down for health reasons. Committee member Val Herbert, kindly and valiantly stepped up to be our acting chair. Val has done an incredible job of heading the association through some interesting times . . .
Containers of herbicide found on the beach reserve
During the winter some containers of herbicide, tagged with ORRA’s name, were found on the beach reserve. Did they belong to ORRA? No, they didn’t and the person responsible has apologized for this. The upside is: this resulted in discussions with DOC about the need for a Community Agreement to define permitted activities around weed and pest control. This is now in train. We hope this Community Agreement will be in place soon as this is essential for our ongoing work on public land. Especially because . . .
We got some serious funding
We are thrilled that ORRA has been awarded $14,080 from DOC’s Community Fund – Pūtea Tautiaki Hapori. The Fund was oversubscribed with a total of 378 applications with $8 million available – so we are especially grateful that DOC has recognised us with this grant.
Covering three years the grant provides for resetting predator traps (Goodnature), non-toxic lures for our DOC 200 predator traps, equipment to keep our volunteers safe and tools to monitor predator numbers in the area. The funding panel acknowledged the good work done by ORRA in the past and together we’re busy finalising the details so we can get back to the mahi.
Doing the dishes never looked so good! A whopping $3,510 has been raised from the first tea towel print run featuring the fabulous native creatures of Opoutere. They are now sold out. There may be another print run pre-Christmas, conditional on demand. Please put your Christmas pre-orders in ASAP to Rachel Lang. email@example.com
Youth Hostel Reopens
It’s BACK! After a sad eighteen months the Opoutere YHA is reopening under a new entity – Wharekawa Adventure Education Trust, and will offer summer accommodation from early December 2019. If you are a YHA member you’ll get preferential booking, for more information go to http://www.yha.co.nz.
Hard-working volunteers transformed the Bruce’s Bay causeway and foot-bridge (you can’t miss the cheerful yellow paint job!). The whole area has been battered by high tides and further work will happen as time allows. Thanks to all the workers, but especially to project leaders: Peter Le Heron, Keryn Kliskey and Stuart Farmer.
Tree poisoner rumours
This continues to be a focus in the community, so we thought we should talk about it. An individual has been accused. They have said to ORRA, also to DOC, that they have not done this. We believe them. There is no evidence to suggest that they are responsible. Community rumour has resulted in unfortunate vigilante action and appalling vandalism. It has got so bad that the police have been notified.
ORRA asks that everyone in our community remember our values: respect, tolerance and kindness. If you have concerns; let’s talk before resorting to threatening tactics.
Logging and more frequent flooding mean that more silt is accumulating in the estuary. ORRA has commissioned a report from an independent forestry expert to give us an overview of local forestry. This work is ongoing, and extremely important – the health of our estuary affects us all.
Mangroves are great in the right place. But increasing siltation means they are growing out of control. We continue to cut them back, but we have to work within a resource consent from the Waikato Regional Council. In the recent renewal of the consent we weren’t able to get the conditions varied to include using line trimmers. We’ll be doing more working bees on mangroves next year – and thanks to committee member Lene Knight for carrying the flame on this.
Opoutere now has a defibrillator, it is located at 301 Opoutere Rd (Elizabeth Savage’s house). When in use it has pre-recorded instructions that guide the user. Thanks to the Onemana Voluntary Rural Fire Force for donating the defibrillator which was surplus to their needs, and to committee member Neil Graham for installing it.
As you may have seen, we have new signs about dogs on the beach. Dogs are not permitted anywhere south of the yellow benches or off-lead on any other part of the beach. This is particularly important now the dotterels are busy breeding! The good news is, we have a new TCDC dog control officer in Whangamata. Rebecca Tilsley is making effective efforts to control dogs and she also oversees freedom camping compliance. She will respond to any complaints and does regular patrols, you can call TCDC day or night on 07 868 0200.
Keep an eye out for the new Dotterel Ranger, Stewart, who has started patrolling the beach and dunes to keep an eye on the dotterels. They are nesting right along the beach this season, probably due to the changed terrain on the spit. Dogs, especially, should be kept well away from nesting sites. Please make sure to give our small neighbours plenty of space so they can get on with raising their families in peace.
CCC – the Community Collective Commitment
You may have seen the notices about the Community Collective Commitment that is proposed for Opoutere. This process will define the combined values of the community – which will influence policy and future funding. It is important and affects all of us. The CCC is a collaborative effort that involves ORRA, the Wharekawa Catchment Care Group and independent locals who wish to be heard. DOC is facilitating the process. There will be a public meeting to discuss this on 11 January 2020. Notices confirming details will be posted in the village and emailed out where possible.
Please have a think about what matters to you in Opoutere and have your say. You can email our interim chairperson Val Herbert at firstname.lastname@example.org with any concerns or questions.
Come along to the ORRA AGM, Thursday January 2, 2020, time TBC, Opoutere School Hall. Notices will be emailed out and posted in the village.
The legendary Opoutere Regatta will be held on Friday January 3rd in Bruce’s Bay. Look out for notices about the time. Rain day 4th January. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate, from the littlest toddler to the most competitive bloke with a score to settle from regattas past (you know who you are). There’ll be a prize-giving BBQ on the reserve afterwards, undignified lolly scramble included.