Locals digging in for coastal care and protection

Whaingaroa and Ruapuke Coastcare groups are planting up a storm around Raglan in the name of coastal protection and restoration. Thousands of native coastal grasses and forest species have been lovingly planted by green-fingered, environmentally-minded locals around the area.

Keen planters have worked to restore the backdunes at Papahua, the slopes by the Wainamu carpark, coastline south of Ruapuke and both north and south Ruapuke carparks. In addition, foredune areas by the kokiri centre and along Ocean Beach have been filled with young kowhangatara (spinifex) and pingao.

Organised by Waikato Regional Council Coastcare co-ordinator Stacey Hill, she says winter is the best time for planting so the seedlings have a better chance at survival.

“I’m so happy to see the rain at the moment.”

Students from Te Uku School, Raglan Area School, Te Mata School and members of the local community have been digging in to support the ecosystem and Stacey says their efforts at protecting the dunes will help lessen coastal hazards and erosion, as well as providing habitat for special plants and animals.

Community volunteers along with Te Mata School students helped with planting at the south end of Ruapuke.
Community volunteers along with Te Mata School students helped with planting at the south end of Ruapuke.

“Sand dunes are part of the natural character of coastlines. They play an important role filtering water and often hold intrinsic cultural and archaeological values. They provide an essential flexible buffer protecting coastal communities and are our natural barrier to the sea – but this only works if the specially adapted coastal plants are growing well and supporting this natural dune function.”

Stacey says Angeline Greensill leads the Whaingaroa Coastcare efforts and has been an environmental warrior for many years, with Jenny Carter and Penny Knuiman leading Ruapuke Coastcare plantings with support from Simon Thomson.

Waikato Coastcare is a partnership between the local community, iwi, district councils and Waikato Regional Council, and the various groups are kaitiaki for 24 beaches on the east and west coasts of the Waikato region.

“I coordinate this programme on the Waikato’s West Coast and get to work with some amazing volunteers from Port Waikato right down to near Awakino.  I feel so lucky to work in this space. There are so many beautiful spots down this coast and it feels great to restore these areas. I can’t wait to see these sites grow,” Stacey says.

To get involved in upcoming plantings check out the Coast Care – Waikato Facebook page for details.

Janine Jackson