The View From Opoutere

Working Bee Update, let’s do it again this weekend!

Last Saturday there was a terrific turnout to our late-notice working bee in the elaeagnus behind the Youth Hostel. We continued to cut a path through the elaeagnus and managed to free up an ancient pohutukawa that was rapidly being colonised by the weed.


This pohutukawa trunk was obscured by a wall of elaeagnus.


More than 20 people showed up and gave us two good hours of their holiday weekend, thanks to all who came along. Thanks also to Amelia Williams who donated a big box of treats for morning tea,  the workers were very grateful for their fresh fruit and chocolate biscuits. The grazing continued after the working bee with a social get together (with beer and sausages) on a local deck!


The elaeagnus grows in a thick mat and rolls over the forest.


There is still so much to do but with regular weedbusting working bees we will get the problem under control, we hope to start replanting some cleared areas with baby natives during the winter.


As we cut and paste the trunks of the elaeagnus the foliage starts to go brown and we can see the results of all our scratchy hard work.

Chris has sent out another call to arms for this coming Saturday (February 14th), it’s Valentine’s Day so show some love for the Opoutere bush and come along from 9am- 12 noon armed with loppers, chainsaw, safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and sturdy clothing and footwear. Have a look at Chris’ Working Bee Checklist-2 .

The patch of elaeagnus that we are targeting at the moment can best be reached by entering the marked “Nature Trail” that starts just inside the gates of the Opoutere YHA. Follow the trail until you hear Chris’ chainsaw and then head uphill, keep your eyes peeled for some red tape or other such marker.

Please avoid parking in the YHA grounds as this is a busy time of the year for them and they need the parking for their guests, we can park on the side of the road a bit further along from the hostel grounds.


Impromptu Working Bee! Saturday 10-12, behind the YHA

That elaeagnus in the bush behind the YHA has been on our minds, so we have decided to have a little go at it this Saturday, February 7. We will be there between 10am and noon so it’s not a marathon effort, just another nudge at it. If you are terribly keen and would like to stay up there longer, that’s fine, too!

Please bring: tools (loppers, chainsaw if possible, secateurs, hand saws) safety glasses, earmuffs, good gloves, a big smile
Wear: long sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy boots
Park: along Opoutere Rd a bit from the YHA, they are full this weekend so please no parking on their grounds

We would love to see you, just follow the Nature Trail that winds up into the bush behind the YHA, look out for some red ribbon on a tree and listen out for our chainsaws! If you are not able to help feel free to pop along for a look at what we are trying to achieve as we free up some beautiful native bush from the smothering effects of the elaeagnus.

Any questions call Chris on 021 418 119

Tsunami Open Day

Tsunami Events1 195x195

Tsunami Information Open Day – Sunday
Sun, 25 January 2015
10:00 am – 03:00 pm

Venue: Thames Coromandel District Council Office, 620 Port Rd, Whangamata

The open days provide you with an opportunity to learn more about what we understand to be the Tsunami threat to the settlements of Whangamata. The Coastal and Tsunami scientists that have worked on this project will be in attendance at the open days to provide the opportunity for you to talk with them directly.

The open days are also an invitation to you to make comment on what you think should be the approach to managing the tsunami risk.

We want to know what you think about such things as;

The emergency management procedures that should be adopted
The community education approach that should be undertaken
What you think about coastal land use planning such as restricting the location of facilities such as kindergartens or rest-homes being built in potential tsunami inundation paths.
For more information about this project and the Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Strategy visit the WhangamataTsunami Project page.

Or have a look directly at the Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Stategy 



Taking On The Thickest Of Thickets…


Stuart Farmer is almost lost in the thick elaeagnus growth. We have it on good authority that he did make it out alive.


Today a hearty bunch of about 30 people showed up in the bush behind the YHA for the first Weedbusting Working Bee of 2015.

We targeted an enormous patch of elaeagnus that is in the process of smothering the beautiful native forest that surrounds the base of Maungaruawahine.

After several hours of chainsawing and chopping, the blanket of elaeagnus has been significantly knocked back. In the process we have discovered wonderful trees and rock formations and the sun is hitting the forest floor for the first time in years. Speaking of hitting the forest floor, some of us lost our footing on the uneven terrain but luckily only one of us had an idling chainsaw in our hands at the time. This kind of weedbusting is not really for the fainthearted. Afterwards we gathered on a nearby deck for hot sausages (cooked by those who slept in…) and cold beer.

Chris Woudenberg spearheaded the working bee and has a personal mission to clear the elaeagnus from the forest. He has used a GPS unit to calculate the area of the infestation at an alarming 5000m2. This a huge challenge but with a concerted community effort we will get rid of the elaeagnus.

Today’s working bee cleared 600m2, no mean feat when you realise how tough and thorny the elaeagnus is.

Elaeagnus map

This is what we cleared today!

A much smaller working bee had cleared 100m2 at Easter 2014. We are gradually rescuing a wonderful area in the forest, it’s exciting to see the trees liberated from the weed and to imagine all the seedlings that can now take root.

We will be holding regular working bees throughout the year, keep an eye out for notices. We can guarantee good company, a free workout and a cheerful gathering at the end!

Thank you to everyone who gave up a few hours of their holiday time to help us in the forest. 


The piles of elaeagnus needed to be reduced with loppers to enable them to mulch down into the forest floor.


Madeleine busies herself with the Vigilant paste that stops the sawn trunks resprouting.


Alan Glover is temporarily dwarfed by the elaeagnus, handy work with a chainsaw sorted that out.


Chris Woudenberg and Victoria Spence amidst the activity.


The workers swarm over the hillside, the difference that we made was amazing.


It was fantastic to see the forest floor emerge from the tangle of weeds.


Louise Furey tackles one of the piles of cuttings.


Don’t forget that the Opoutere Ratepayers and Residents’ Association is holding its 2015 AGM on Friday January 2, 10am at the Opoutere School.

Here’s the agenda…

ORRA agm_Page_1

See you on Friday!

The 2015 Opoutere T-Shirts Are Here!


It’s been years since we had an official Opoutere t-shirt and public demand spurred our fundraising team into commissioning this fantastic design. The t-shirts cost $30 and all proceeds come back to the Opoutere community via the work that ORRA carries out. Thanks to Rachel Lang for handling everything from design concept all the way through to hosting a pop-up shop from her car boot at the Regatta.

Available in:

Mens’ Small, Medium   * X-Large and Large are being reordered *

Womens’ X-Large, Large, Medium, Small

Kids’ 8, 10, 12

They’ve been selling quickly, don’t miss out. Call Rachel on 865 6799 to arrange a time to visit her bach shop!

Regatta Update

The annual Opoutere Regatta takes place in Bruce’s Bay on Monday 29 December. It will kick off at 12.30 (earlier than previously advertised here) with the little kids’ races, followed by the hotly contested swimming and kayaking races. You definitely don’t want to miss out on the chaos/carnage of the family kayak relay at the end of the Regatta.

Jo Adams and the Onemana Fire team will be set up to sell hot food at 4pm, bring CASH please! Prizegiving will take place shortly after.

See you all there!

NZ Conservation Is Showcased In The New Yorker


Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 7.48.11 pm

Here’s some excellent summer reading for you!

The wonderful weekly publication The New Yorker has just come out with a very good article on New Zealand’s delicate and unique ecology. It is worth having around for visitors and locals alike to brush up on their NZ history and recent conservation trends. Follow this link here for the article “The Big Kill” and this link here for the slide show “Bloody, Bloody Biophilia”.

Dotterel Family Matters


The Dotterels have started nesting but have already lost their first nests due to high tides and storm swell. Being determined little characters they have replaced their nests and will hopefully have a chance at hatching this summer’s chicks.

Nicki Miller is our DoC Dotterel Ranger this year, she will be in the village once or twice a week to keep an eye on all the nesting birds on the Wharekawa Spit and at the Ohui end of the beach. Due to the ongoing restructuring at DoC we will not have the benefit of a full-time ranger this year so it is up to our community to watch the nesting areas and stay in touch with Nicki if we have any concerns. Her mobile number is 027 660 2496.

The nesting birds on the Wharekawa Spit are most vulnerable to disturbance at low tide. This is precious feeding time for fledgling chicks and their parents and we will need our usual team of Dotterel Watch volunteers to protect them from human and dog disturbance an hour each side of low tide. There will be a roster posted on the bus stop notice board, please try to help out if you can. (It’s actually a nice quiet escape from a busy bach full of visitors!)

To further protect the nesting birds please help us keep dogs away from the Spit and Ohui areas, signage at the carpark shows exactly the area of mid-beach that dogs are allowed under control before 9am and after 7pm, this is in force between December 15 and February 8. TCDC bylaws state clearly that between the Saturday of Labour Weekend and 1 March dogs are banned at the Wharekawa and Ohui ends of Opoutere beach, check the maps in the carpark for the exact areas. As has previously been noted in these pages the local Animal Control Officers, Tania and Tim, are taking a particular interest in Opoutere this summer. To talk to the Animal Control team call 07 868 0200 and you will be put through to them.

Kia kaha, little dotterels!

Summer Has Arrived!


With the arrival of December we say ka kite ano to spring and kia ora to summer! Temperatures may still be a little on the low side but according to the calendar it’s time to put away the woolies and dust off the swimming togs.

Some important summer dates (these will be regularly updated):

Monday 29 December 1.30pm Opoutere Regatta, Bruce’s Bay

Friday 2 January 10am Opoutere Ratepayers and Residents Assoc AGM, Opoutere School

With summer comes a change in the Opoutere village, baches and houses fill up and the road becomes busier with bikes and pedestrians all sharing space with the increased holiday traffic. Please let your visitors know about the new walkway that runs between Bruce’s Bay and the grass reserve by Kapakapa Road, it is a pleasant little walk and is the safest way to get around that part of the village on foot. Bikes should still use the road as the walkway is narrow and winding and not suited to cycling.

ORRA have asked TCDC to help us reduce the speed limit on the road between Ngahere Terrace and the beach carpark, a long, bureaucratic process has been initiated to further this goal. In the meantime signs will be posted to ask drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians and cyclists.

Take care with the new lowered alcohol limits for drivers, please keep an eye on your guests’ drinking if you know they are going to be getting in their cars later. Our local fire chief is one of the people who are first responders to car crashes and he is especially anxious for all our locals and visitors to be very aware of this law change. See the NZ Transport Agency website for all the details relating to drink driving offences.

Soon there will be a total fire ban in place over the whole Coromandel peninsular. It runs from 20 December 2014 until 8 February 2015, this period may be extended if the weather dictates.