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Mangawhai Focus
9 May 2022, Page 20

Mangawhai Focus 9 May 2022.JPG

Mangawhai Focus, 11 April 2022, Page 28
What’s happening on our harbour

 

Last summer local community group Mangawhai Matters surveyed residents and visitors about what matters to them regarding Mangawhai. Not surprisingly, the beach, estuary and coastline were consistently nominated as what people most value.

The protection of the harbour was a priority for almost everyone, many also prioritising access to the coast, maintaining the internal harbour channel dredging, and management of the mangroves.

These pervasive views highlight the role that the Mangawhai Harbour Restoration Society (MHRS) plays in maintaining the quality and appeal of our local environment.

The MHRS is a voluntary community organisation established to restore the harbour to its past prime condition following the breaching of the sand spit in 1978 caused by cyclone Bola and other storm activity to ensure the recovery and ongoing protection of an environmental, recreational and historic resource.

The MHRS has since maintained the integrity of the Mangawhai spit through installing wind barrier fencing, grass planting and pest control, and enhancing the quality of the harbour waters by channel dredging and mangrove clearance. These activities are funded by an targeted property rates levy of $80 pa.

The restored spit has become a significant wildlife habitat, recognised by the Department of Conservation when it declared it as the Mangawhai Government Purpose Wildlife Refuge in December 2007. The harbour has also been recognised lately as having the highest pristine water quality of all the many Northland harbours.

With restoration achieved, the focus of the MHRS has shifted over the years to the sustaining of our pristine harbour and much loved coastal environment. This is an ongoing challenge in the face of volatile weather, the threat of long term sand extraction along our ocean beaches, intensive development of the harbour catchment, increasing resident numbers, and the rapid growth of water-based recreation.

With the harbour and ocean central to life in Mangawhai, the MHRS will be providing regular updates on its activities, accomplishments and concerns, keeping residents fully informed on our region’s most valuable asset.

Updates for April include:

 

Mangrove management
The plan has been approved by the Northland Regional Council (NRC) for the seasonal removal of mangrove juveniles to commence in notified areas from April 01, 2022. This is when the fairy tern chicks are fully fledged with the flock returning to its west coast

winter habitat during February. The removal of mangrove juveniles limits the prospect of further loss of harbour area to sediment-induced mangrove expansion.
 

Sand mining
The MHRS is actively working with the Save Our Sands group (SOS) in opposing the three sand mining consent applications currently being considered. The threats to our sandspit and beaches is very real, recognised by the following organisations joining the MHRS in opposing all future sand extraction in the Mangawhai-Pakiri closed embayment coast – Greenpeace , Endangered Species Association, DOC, NRC, Kaipara District Council, and importantly the Auckland Council.

 

Inner harbour dredging
Under the conditions of our resource consent, dredging should have commenced at the beginning of March. The Department of Conservation has however put such restrictions and exclusion zones on the MHRS dredging plan, that the dredging plan is not able to be commenced, which is of significant concern. Meetings with DOC are underway to resolve this situation.

This delay is unfortunate. After months of easterly winds through summer, sand is building up in the main mid harbour channel which is a safety risk to users and may have a long term impact on the harbour’s long term dynamics.

It is also ironic because the stable bird nesting area and shell bed in question have been enabled through the consistent dredging programs over the years.

 

Distal spit protection
Whilst there has been some storm damage to wind barrier fences on the spit as a result of this summer’s onshore winds, there have been no breaches.

The spit is in good shape, with recent grass planting being well established.

MHRS people
The MHRS is sorry to see that our stalwart on the spit, Jerry Pilmer, is leaving Mangawhai. Jerry has been sourcing grass plants, cultivating these from seeds and running a long term planting program. This has seen over 100,000 seedlings planted, providing the spit with essential stability. He has also overseen protective fence development and maintenance along with predator control on behalf of the MHRS. His personal efforts have been significant in contributing to the current healthy state of the spit and estuary environs.

MF 17Jan22 Sandmining.jpg

The Mangawhai Focus
9 August 2021

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Numerous coastal birds, including a pair of endangered fairy terns who were sited perched on the pipeline, flock to the area hoping for a tasty morsel caught up in the discharged estuary sand.  PHOTO: Julia Wade

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Recycling what the wind and tides have put into the estuary. Spirit of Mangawhai II anchored at work keeping harbour waters flowing pristine and clear while simultaneously maintaining the dunes. PHOTO: Julia Wade

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MF 9Aug2021 Spirit Engine Room.JPG

The man who ‘sucks’ at his job, barge captain Mark Vercoe sporting the official Big Dig t-shirt. “The words ‘Trust us’ are significant,” Ken Rayward says. “At the time of Big Dig, council would come up to Jim Wintle, asking ‘what the hell is going on?’ and he would calmly say ‘trust us’… and then walk off.”  PHOTO: Julia Wade

Down in the engine room – the ‘heart and lungs’ of Spirit II.  PHOTO: Julia Wade

MF 9Aug2021 Mark John Ken.JPG

Pictured from left, ‘captain’ Mark Vercoe with MHRS president John Pearson and member Ken Rayward. Pearson says due to the annual $80 they pay via their rates, all Mangawhai ratepayers actually own a share in the Spirit. PHOTO: Julia Wade

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Not a grain is wasted. From estuary to the spit, sand is pumped and funnelled where MHRS member and tractor operator Brett Godley is ready to distribute the grains. PHOTO: Julia Wade

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RAY AND ALISON WELSON LIFE MEMBERSHIP FOR MHRS

24 February 2020

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SPIRT OF MANGAWHAI  BORN 28 YEARS AGO

19 August 2019

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MANGAWHAI HARBOUR FLOWS WITH LIFE FORCE

19 August 2019

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SANDS STABLE BUT MORE PLANTERS NEEDED

5 Aug 2019

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SURVEY SUPPORTS MANGROVE MANAGEMENT

10 February 2020

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THE SILENCE OF MANGAWHAI'S MANGROVES

2 October 2019

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CLEARING THE MURK AROUND MANGAWHAI MANGROVES

27 May 2019

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STUDENTS HELP MAINTAIN HARBOUR HEALTH

8 July 2019

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HARBOUR HISTORY PASSED TO YOUNGER GENERATIONS

10 Jun 2019

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