Due to current forest conditions
In recent weeks there have been several substantial bonfires lit on the beach, something that greatly concerns Onemana Rural Fire Chief Jo Adams.
There are fire ban signs all through Opoutere village and in the carpark by the beach access track, anyone lighting a fire is likely to find themselves engaged in very forthright conversation with Onemana Rural firefighters tasked with preventing a fast-moving and widespread forest fire.
Any fire – big or small – call 111 or Jo Adams directly on 027 449 3034.
If you see something – say something.
Opoutere is facing a “catastrophic” fire risk this summer and the whole community needs to be vigilant. This means proactively engaging with visitors to the area who may not be aware of the tinder dry conditions posed by the dead and dying pines in the beach forest.
Need a fire permit? Consult the Thames Coromandel District Council website here for a handy checklist and council contact details.
AN IMPORTANT INVITATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION:
“The Department of Conservation with support from TCDC and FENZ (Fire and Emergency New Zealand) would like to invite you to the Opoutere Hall to discuss management of the Opoutere Recreation reserve.
Topics we would like to discuss with you and receive your feedback on include:
Drop in to talk to us about your concerns and ask questions. a team of local Department of Conservation rangers will be present as well as FENZ advisors and representatives from TCDC.
Friday the 17th November 2017
Opoutere Community Hall
Corner SH25 and Opoutere Rd
Drop in between 12.00pm – 4.00pm
Contact us on
Leanne Irvine, Senior Ranger/Supervisor, Community 0275405459, email@example.com
Nick Hamon, Senior Ranger, Biodiversity 0274946034, firstname.lastname@example.org”
This summer the Opoutere beachfront forest is at risk of a catastrophic fire according to our local fire chief Jo Adams and the Principal Rural Fire Officer (PRFO) of Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Paul Shaw.
The beach forest contains so many dead and dying pine trees (due to poisoning) that there is little chance of fighting any blaze that takes hold in the area. A fire could move quickly and pose an immediate danger to all residents along the beach and guests in the campground.
The community needs to be vigilant and this starts right now at Guy Fawkes time. Opoutere is in a Restricted Fire Season (this means all fires in the open must be permitted) until the Total Fire Ban comes into effect on December 20. See the TCDC website for further details.
If you see any fires on the beach or near the forest call 111 immediately.
Any queries don’t hesitate to call Jo Adams, Onemana Rural Fire Controller on 0274493034.
From the Facebook page of “Save Opoutere YHA Hostel“:
The board of YHA have announced the closure of the Opoutere hostel after Easter 2018.
The CEO of YHA has stated the following:
i) The Board has made a decision to close Opoutere following Easter 2018. This decision reflects the lack of viability of the hostel given its location, capacity and occupancy, as well as the ongoing investment required in support of compliance and YHA brand standards (in excess of $500,000 over the next 10 years).
ii) The aspiration in the period leading up to closure is to reach agreement to hand-over the property to a like-minded organisation with Objects aligned with those of YHA. Very tentative discussions have already taken place and a likely scenario is that visitor accommodation will continue to be on offer during peak holiday periods.
iii) I would like to work with the Opoutere Member Group to effect a positive transition.
iv) So, the upshot is that the hostel is not going to remain in the YHA network, but the intention is to hand over to a like-minded organisation and preserve the site as a holiday option, particularly for YHA members.
The following motion is submitted for the Agenda of the YHA AGM to be held late October in Wellington
“That the YHA National Board shall defer the decision regarding the future of Opoutere Hostel for 12 months to enable fully informed consultation amongst all interested parties”
We need everyone who is passionate about Opoutere remaining open to attend this meeting, regardless if you are a member of YHA or not. If you are unable can make it to the meeting email with us with your support (and membership number if you are a current member) with any ideas, questions or contributions that you have for the meeting.
If you are members and attending please being you membership number with you. We need each and every one of you to be there to be there so we can work as a group to ascertain the best possible way to progress so that the best possible outcome is attained for all stakeholders.
While the board’s actions may appear confusing we have told them that we will consult the petitioners and supporters before giving feedback. We are not suggesting a resolution to the situation here as we feel that is best determined at the meeting. There is much experience, wisdom and passion within the souls of all who love and support Opoutere, which now needs to be galvanised into practical coordinated activity.
Members of the YHA , this is your opportunity to support the motion to keep the Opoutere YHA open for another 12 months, allowing thorough and open review with all parties.
You must be a YHA member to vote. As the YHA does not allow proxy votes, you must attend in person at the AGM in Wellington.
You can of course attend as an observer/supporter.
In early March torrential rain caused a significant slip on the side of Maungaruawahine. A large portion of the summit track was destroyed, houses on Ngahere Terrace were inundated with mud and rocks and a vast open slip face was left behind. This area is vulnerable to weed-strike but ORRA member Gordon Ikin has devised a planting plan to revegetate this area. The goal is to reduce the chance of ginger, pampas, elaeagnus or ink weed getting established. Gordon sourced funding and plants, coordinated with engineers and council representatives and expertly supervised the planting day – we are grateful for his time and energy!
Queen’s Birthday weekend saw a cheerful gang carting young native plants up the summit track to take part in stage one of Gordon’s plan. Young and old scrambled up the challenging terrain (special thanks to Jocelyn Nicholson who did several slippery treks up the hill with seedlings) and after two hours of digging and planting the hillside was transformed. Next time you pass the slip site look uphill and admire the sea of bamboo canes that mark out each plant.
ORRA would like to formally acknowledge the support of Waikato Regional Council, Thames Coromandel District Council and the Honda Tree Fund. Thanks also to Mark Blazey who put together our colonial-style group shot!
A working bee is to be undertaken in the bush on Maugaruawahine to replant some of the area damaged in the slip a couple of months ago.
Funding for this planting has been from the Honda Tree Fund utilising plants purchased through the Waikato Regional Council Plant Supply Programme, with additional plants kindly supplied by TCDC.
This planting coincides perfectly with Arbor Day which is on Monday 5 June.
Date: Saturday 3 June (Queens Birthday Weekend)
Location: Maungaruawahine (adjacent to the recent large slip). Access via track to summit. Please carry some plants up the hill with you as you head up the track, if plants are still awaiting transporting.
Aim: To begin the task of re-vegetating the slip face with pioneer native species which will in time stabilise this area, and thus hopefully prevent further slips and erosion. In addition getting native plants re-established will hopefully lessen the chance of a large-scale noxious weed infestation occurring here.
Meet: On face of slip, where track to summit transects slip.
Work site conditions: Fairly steep and slippery in parts especially if wet.
Bring the following equipment: Solid enclosed footwear with decent tread, protective gloves, parka (if rain threatening), spade, secateurs, water bottle, and lots of the usual Opoutere enthusiasm!
Any queries, please feel free to contact me.
At sunrise on Saturday May 6 the 2017 duck shooting season gets underway. There are several areas on the Wharekawa harbour that are popular with hunters and their camouflaged maimais may not be visible to the casual observer. Please take care on the harbour, especially early in the mornings when there is a lot of hunting activity.
Please visit the Fish and Game website to view the regulations that apply to our area.