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.
Auckland, New Zealand
Apr 30, 2017 — Due to the petition David and Bianca Wildish have been invited to present to the YHA board meeting on Saturday 6th May in Wellington. Bianca is currently completing her Masters degree the Netherlands so is unable to attend. David has accepted the invitation and will present to the Board om behalf of all who care about this Jewel in the Crown of the NZ YHA, so is requesting all your support for this event
He will be presenting the petition and all associated comments on www.change.org/p/youth-hostel-association-of-new-zealand-save-opoutere-yha-hostel that are made by Thursday evening NZ time. There are many issues regarding the failure of the board to consult with the members regarding this closure that must be addressed subsequent to the meeting, including; staff deliberately misleading the membership regarding the closure; no options presented to keep it operating, no figures or justification for closure disclosed and no actual consultation process being held with members.
If you have more you want to contribute or need more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org . If you would like to be part of the Opoutere Hostel Group and are a current YHA member please let us know now via the same email address, the more we have in the group the better.
Please keep sharing the petition with other members of the Opoutere community as we can easily get the numbers to 1000 and beyond by the end of this week. Please encourage people to state a Reason for Signing. There are many powerful and heartfelt comments there already and we would love to see more.
An email to the chairman of the board of YHA is another contribution you can make in these last few days before the meeting his address is email@example.com copy the email you send to firstname.lastname@example.org so we have a record. Just a line or 2 from everyone who has signed will further strengthen our case.
Also like or follow the Facebook page so that we can keep the information flowingwww.facebook.com/saveopoutereyha/
Every one of your individual voices and actions are important to save this unique Kiwi treasure. We all thank you for your growing support and don’t let up until we have a confirmed positive result.
MetService has issued a heavy rain warning for the Waikato and Southern Coromandel, with up to 155mm of rain this evening through to tomorrow morning.
Large bursts up to 50mm per hour are expected, which can cause flooding in areas such as Tairua, Hikuai and Opoutere.
“The rain itself is much needed, but coupled with high tide means this can lead to isolation, due to potential flooding or road slips, for some communities,” says Garry Towler, Thames Valley Civil Defence Controller.
People travelling through low lying areas to work on Wednesday morning may encounter flooding and are cautioned to drive to the conditions and keep up-to-date with potential hazards in their area.
How to keep up-to-date with what is happening
For weather alerts and information on how to prepare for emergencies download the NZ Red Cross Hazard App.
We will provide up-to-date information in the event of any emergency on all these channels.
If you don’t have a smartphone or other mobile device, or don’t use the internet, organise someone who does to call you and vice-versa. Think about elderly neighbours, family and friends who are perhaps on their own and may need support.
For State Highway roading updates, NZTA offer real time traffic and travel information emailed directly to you letting you know if there’s a significant hold up or need for caution on the State Highway you travel on. You can register your route here https://onthemove.govt.nz/