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”.
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!
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.
Joe Adams from the Onemana Rural Fire Force has a strong message for Opoutere:
NO FIREWORKS in the Opoutere/Ohui area, please.
There is a “Restricted Fire Season” in place for the whole of the TCDC area.
From the TCDC website:
“Fire Permits are required for all fires in the “OPEN AIR”. This includes, but is not limited to, open top incinerators, braziers, traditional cooking and hangi fires.
Fire Permits will not be issued for domestic fireworks, Chinese lanterns or beach fires.”
IF YOU SEE THIS BYLAW BEING BREACHED PLEASE DIAL 111 AND ASK FOR THE FIRE SERVICE.
Read the latest newsletter from Joe Adams and the Onemana Rural Fire Force team.
For more information you can contact Joe Adams on (07) 865 8584 or 0274 493 034
On Saturday 25th October the Wharekawa Catchment Care Group are holding their 9th AGM.
It will be held at the Opoutere Hall and will start at 10.30am. Come along to see what this very busy community group has been up to this year.
Any questions call Alan Bridson 07 865 8642, Jethro Dyer 07 865 9137 or Lynn Cruikshank 07 865 9555
Spring is upon us, what a wild winter it’s been!
The Jetty: The poor old jetty took a hammering during a fierce July storm and the platform floated away, coming to rest about 25m to the west. There has been some talk about refloating the platform and joining it back up with a new section of the jetty catwalk. For this to be achieved we need daylight hours, a good high tide and a reasonable number of practically minded people who don’t mind getting very wet and muddy and of course some tools and materials.
A glance at the tide chart shows that there aren’t many day-time high tides that would give us enough time to perform the whole operation until late October. Labour Weekend looks hopeful – could everyone have a think about this and leave a message on the Get Involved page (or the bus shelter) if you are keen to help or willing to organise a working bee that we can then advertise well in advance.
The Walkway: The new walkway has received some repair work after small slips blocked culverts. Bruce’s Bay bridge has also had some remedial work done after some very high tides scoured out the walkway surface.
Planting Day: A small group of hardy souls got stuck in and succeeded in planting out some of the old slip sites along Opoutere Rd between the jetty and the YHA. Several hundred plants were purchased with grants from the Department of Conservation and The Honda Tree Fund. Very special thanks to Gordon Ikin who sourced and collected the plants.
With funding from The Honda Tree Fund and the Department of Conservation ORRA has been able to purchase several hundred native seedlings.
Come along and help plant them on the old slip sites on Opoutere Rd between the jetty and the YHA. As they grow they will help to stabilise the banks and prevent silt run-off into the estuary, as well as providing food for our native birds.
Please meet at 323 Opoutere Rd (opposite the bus shelter) 1pm on Saturday 12 July for a very social clamber about on the side of the road!
Wear some sturdy gardening shoes, bring gloves, a trowel or spade and a high-viz vest if you have one.
There is talk of some light refreshments afterwards, don’t miss out!
TCDC’s Garry Towler, Area Manager for Whangamata, is pleased with the completed walkway along the foreshore between Bruce’s Bay and the grass reserve near Kapakapa Rd.
The surface of the walkway feels a little soft at present but it is made of Gap20 that will harden up significantly over time. Plants will also be supplied to further enhance the walkway.
There is quite a lot of rubbish that has been unearthed by the works but it should disappear over time if everyone could pick up a piece or two and pop it in the household rubbish for collection.
Any thoughts or concerns can be relayed directly to the Whangamata TCDC office, ph: 07 8650060.
In early 2014 the Whangamata Community Board voted to proceed with a proposed walkway along the foreshore of Opoutere Rd. The walkway is planned to run between Bruce’s Bay and the grass reserve by Kapakapa Rd.
In mid-May a large pile of rocks in Bruce’s Bay reserve indicated that something was about to happen! Over the next few days the rocks had been placed to widen the edge of the road and compacted metal placed adjacent to the road tarmac. It may appear that the work has stalled just beyond the bend in the road opposite Wharekawa Place, but Garry Towler, TCDC’s Area Manager for Whangamata, assures the community that the main contractors, Walkway Solutions, are due back in Opoutere very soon and that the job will be completed by the end of June.