The View From Opoutere

Summer Happenings


It’s the best time of the year! The pohutukawas are in bloom, the water is warm and Christmas is just around the corner. Here’s a link to the tide chart and surf forecast.

Of note this year is the “catastrophic fire risk” posed by the dead trees in the beach forest. Please be proactive:

  •  if you see anyone preparing a beach bonfire please have a chat with them before they get the chance to light it,
  • call 111 if you see ANY fire,
  • call Jo Adams 0274 493 034 if you find the remains of a beach fire, he will extinguish any embers. There will be no back up for the Onemana Rural Fire Force in the busy holiday period, if a fire catches in the forest the chances of stopping it are very slim.  Please read on for more information from TCDC regarding fire.


Get out your diary and make a note of these upcoming events in Opoutere.



Come along to Bruce’s Bay at 2pm Thursday 28th December. The fun begins with a bucket competition for the under-5s then it gets serious with swimming and kayaking races for young and old. Prize giving at 5pm in the Michael King Reserve over the road. Thanks to Shan and Gavin for organising the event. Check out the colourful 2017 Regatta Notice on the bus shelter.



9.30am Tuesday 2nd January 2018, at Opoutere School.

Follow this link to the ORRA AGM 2018 AGENDA.

The agenda will be posted on the bus shelter and will be available on the day



From Chris, our tireless ecology warrior:

Opoutere Working Bees coming right up!

Yes, it’s time. The birds are singing and mating as they are very happy out on the spit now.

The rat population is pretty close to zero ( a recent DOC monitoring program showed zero rats out on the spit in our trapping area). Not to mention no recent signs of possums, just rabbits now.

But the problem with this is that the bird life has increase significantly and they love to spread ginger seeds and ginger is getting ready to flower, NOW is the time for us to get stuck into some working bees out on the spit.

First one is this Saturday at 8 30 am.

Coming Working Bee Dates:

Saturday 23rd December 8 30 am

Wednesday 27th December 8 30 am

Saturday 30th December 8 30 am

Wednesday 3rd January 8 30 am

I recently mapped out the area of one larger ginger patch and it was 6000 M² with around 75% coverage over this area – which is a bit of ginger , There is a second area nearby which I haven’t scouted yet but probably 4000 M², Which is quite a significant amount of ginger which needs to be removed.

What we do is cut and paste and cut and paste and more cutting and pasting , I have a few knives but any good sharp knife will help, I have many bottles of paste to stop them regrowing back.

Suitable for all ages, children most welcome as there is a lot of baby ginger which can be pulled by hand and then placed in black plastic bags to rot away – as these plants will grow back.

This is a fun couple of hours and you get a real sense of achievement at the end as you look back on what we have done – the last one we cleared about 1000 M² so we will get on top of it. If we don’t it will overtake the whole spit.

Where :

This ginger patch is pretty well right in the middle of the spit ( pic below), I have made a track into the middle from the seaward side of the spit loop track. Head from the carpark towards the beach and just before you get to the beach turn right walk past the DOC track closed sign and the orange netting , under the fallen pine and about 200 meters further along the track you will see a traffic safety cone – turn right and follow the red marking tape and the yellow rope on the ground until you find me in the middle of some ginger.

The area we will be working is away from the poisoned pines.

Please wear gloves and good footwear and sign the book before you start work it will be at the start of the track – please sign again on your way out , so we can keep track of you while you are out working.

My number is 021 418119 if you get lost or have any questions.


Dont forget the ORRA agm which is coming up on the 2th Jan , I will be giving my yearly review of our pest control work in Opoutere. 

our Ginger problem



Kerbside rubbish collections increase from December 27 2017 until February 10 2018.

The schedule is:

Monday – blue bags and small recycling bins only (glass)

Saturday – blue bags, ALL recycling (including wheelie bins)



From the Thames Coromandel District Council:

Total Fire Ban in place across the Coromandel for the summer

Our summer Total Fire Ban is in place from tomorrow (20 December) across the Coromandel, which means open fires in public places, beaches, public conservation land (DOC) and on private property are not permitted.

We could be in for a hot, dry summer which means an elevated fire risk as vegetation and soil dries out.

The Total Fire Ban runs from 20 December 2017 until 8 February 2018 and can be extended if the dry weather continues.

The ban includes land-clearing fires, rubbish fires, traditional cooking and hangi fires, bonfires, solid-fuelled BBQs, braziers, domestic fireworks, Chinese lanterns, and open-top incinerators.

It does not include gas-fuelled cookers or gas BBQs provided they are operated by an adult in a safe manner.

For more information on fire restrictions in the Coromandel, go to our web page

If you see an out-of-control fire, call Fire and Emergency New Zealand on 111.

Bush fires, like that which burned through about 100 hectares of land at Comers Road in Mercury Bay in January this year (see photo below), put lives in danger and destroy property and habitat for native plant and animal species.

“The Comers Rd fire is a prime example of why we have a Total Fire Ban across the Coromandel during the summer. This shows how damaging a fire in the bush can be,” says Paul Shaw, the Waikato Principal Rural Fire Officer.

Be fire smart

Comers Road fire area, Mercury Bay, January 2017. Photo by Philip Hart.

(Photo of damage from Comers Rd fire by Philip Hart.)

You can take action now to reduce the risk to your property from fire.

  • Make sure your property has good access for fire trucks, and to water supplies.
  • Have a well-practiced escape plan so everyone knows what to do if there is a fire.
  • Call 111 immediately if you see any smoke.
  • Maintain a defendable area free of vegetation around your home
  • Store firewood in a cool dry place, not next to your home. It will dry out with the sun and heat and ignite easily.
  • Be vigilant when working with machinery that could throw sparks and ignite a fire. Dampen down the surrounding area beforehand, and do the work first thing in the morning when it is coolest. Remember to check the fire season at as these activities may be fully prohibited due to the high risk of them starting a fire.

Use Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s fire safety checklist to help make sure your property is safe from vegetation fires this summer.

Go to to check the fire danger in your area




During the busiest days of the holiday season the Opoutere community does a great job protecting the dotterels’ feeding time on the spit at low tide. We work cooperatively with Frouk Miller, the hard-working DoC Dotterel Ranger for our area. Volunteers sign up to do a couple of hours by the spit barrier keeping an eye out for people who may not be aware of the dotterels feeding needs at nesting time. When disturbed by people and/or dogs the birds on the spit can take fright and abandon their nests, tragically chicks can try to follow their parents and drown or are simply left to starve.

Please join us in this work by signing up to the Dotterel roster on the bus shelter, we would love to have your help!

For any questions or concerns about the Dotterel Watch programme, please contact Frouk at







Beach Bonfire Warning


Due to current forest conditions



could cause



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.



Opoutere Reserve Open Day

IMG_5864Opoutere open day


“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:

  • Pines on the DOC and TCDC reserves that have been recently poisoned by unknown people
  • DOC closing much of the southern reserve prior to Christmas for public safety.
  • Ongoing mitigation of dying pines
  • Fire safety awareness and risks
  • Dotterel management

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,

Nick Hamon, Senior Ranger, Biodiversity 0274946034,”





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.

The Opoutere YHA Needs YOU!


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.

Maungaruawahine Slip Planting

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!

Queen’s Birthday Weekend Working Bee

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)

Time: 1-3pm

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.


Gordon Ikin


Duck shooting season starts May 6

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.p17123pc


Update and important opportunity to contribute before the YHA NZ board meeting on Saturday 6th May

Bianca Wildish

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 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 . 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 copy the email you send to 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

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.

Weather Alert fromTCDC

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.

The Red Cross Hazards app is available from:
App store for iOS devices
Google Play store for Android devices

Check our Council’s home page for news updates and alerts, follow our Facebook page and subscribe to our email newsletters and Twitter feed @OurCoromandel.

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