What a Month We Have Experienced Here in Kuaotunu!
A huge thank you on behalf of our whole community to our local emergency responders, who did an awesome job as usual.
Do you have any thoughts on our community’s response or perhaps ideas on how we can improve our resilience in the future? Come along to the KRRA (Kuaotunu Residents & Ratepayers Association) AGM on Sunday the 9th of April (i.e. Easter Sunday) at the Kuaotunu Hall at 3pm and let us know what you think.
Everyone is welcome, whether you are a KRRA member or not. (Note that membership fees are not due until 1 April, and all current members will be emailed prior to the AGM to let them know whether or not their membership fee is due or has already been paid).
Kuaotunu Weather Records
We all know it’s been wet in the last few months…but how wet? To answer that we need data over a long period. KRRA committee member Alastair Brickell and his wife Harriette have been recording daily rainfall records at Kuaotunu for over 41 years (15,000 days) and this can give us some information, although this is still only a relatively short record of recent events.
The results are shown above as a graph showing the total rainfall each year, with the average being 1,677mm/year.
There had been a rough trend of steady decrease in the amount of rainfall each year (and its variability) over the last four decades, until last year which was the record breaker, with 2,381mm in the rain gauge. This might even prove to be the start of another cycle of high rainfall as was experienced during the 1980’s, since weather often follows 40-60 year cycles.
That was a very wet period with several major events occurring, such as February 1985 which saw severe flooding in Thames, including in the hospital, and deaths in Te Aroha. July 1987 saw flooding over the Whitianga Esplanade only to be followed by the extreme year of 1988 with Cyclone Bola in March, with the subsequent deluge of our wettest month in 41 years occurring later that year in July with 598mm.
That was even wetter than September 2019 (545mm) which saw the Kuaotunu bridge damaged and closed for weeks and the School of Mines Lane bridge demolished in what was actually a lower-than-average rainfall year.
The last four complete months (Nov 2022 - Feb 2023) have been the wettest four consecutive months in the record with 1,710mm, about 33% higher than the next wettest four consecutive months in the Cyclone Bola year (1988). That’s even more than our yearly average! In fact the first three months of this year have already produced more than occurred during the whole of 1982, our lowest year with only 1,148mm in total, so it's no wonder we’re all feeling rather damp.
The bigger picture however, puts this all into a bit of perspective. The period around the 1870’s to 1930’s was much wetter and extreme, with more serious rain events than we’ve experienced this summer occurring about every 10-15 years or so. Nobody living today remembers these events so we’ve become very complacent and dangerously used to our relatively calm century. However, maybe it could be prudent to consider long term planning for a return to the former extreme conditions.
Exciting News about our Tennis Courts
KRRA is proud to report progress on the resurfacing of the recreation slab (otherwise known as the tennis courts), at the Kuaotunu Domain.
Over 30 years ago the Kuaotunu Domain Board installed the existing facilities that continue to be an asset today. Originally the facilities were wisely earmarked as a recreation slab for multi-sport use, and we aim to continue that legacy for the next generation.
The KRRA and Domain Board have submitted a joint application to Thames Coromandel District Council to overlay the existing concrete surface with a new, engineered concrete overlay. This is also supported by a grant from the Mercury Bay Community Board. The funds for the project are largely community-derived so we anticipate a positive and timely outcome from TCDC.
We will keep you posted as the project develops.
The End of an Era for Kuaotunu Bird Rescue
After more than 15 years of dedicated - and unpaid - service to the wild bird life of the Coromandel peninsula, Annemieke Kregting has made the extremely difficult decision to close down the Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust.
What initially started as a few cages under a pohutukawa tree in her backyard turned into a fully functional and professional veterinary rehab clinic.
Annemieke and her dedicated team of local helpers have probably saved the lives of many thousands of birds that would otherwise have perished, however this has come at a huge personal cost to Annemieke and her family, especially with the clinic being located at her home.
Annemieke is extremely grateful to the support that the Kuaotunu community has given her over the years, and this feeling is certainly mutual. If you would like to say thanks to Annemieke for all her hard work, Jannine Verner has set up a Givealittle page for this purpose:
Restoration of our Dunes Underway
Kūaotunu Dune Care are very pleased that our restoration plan is underway in the area directly across from the village. Spraying of the agapanthus has taken place and two additional sprays will be undertaken over the next couple of months to ensure that all exotics are removed before the planting of flaxes, knobby club rush, and muehlenbeckia in this area.
Cyclone Hale and Gabrielle have done damage to Grays Beach, however with a more conducive weather pattern for sand accumulation these dunes will grow seawards again. The eroded sand is sitting offshore as a huge sand bar waiting to be blown onshore over time.
It’s true that no dune plant can hold back the force of cyclone induced storm surge, but they will help the dune rebuild. Salt-tolerant native plants such as Spinifex, Pingao are hardy and will bounce back quickly. They extend new runners (rhizomes) towards the sea to bind any sand blown back towards the dunes.
Rehabilitation and restoration of our dunes is so important and is very much in line with the Coastal Adaptation Plan adopted by TCDC Sept 2022. You may be interested in the sections of this plan which deal with Kuaotunu Beach and Kuaotunu West.
The Kūaotunu Dune Care Group meet monthly with weeding and planting bees along the dune area. Check the local notice board or Facebook posting on Kuaotunu Katchup when the next event will be held. We look forward to seeing you there.
Please note that we will also be holding our AGM at the Kuaotunu Hall on Tuesday 18 April at 5:30pm. You are very welcome to join us if you have an interest in the health of our dunes.
Latest News from the Kuaotunu Hall Committee
With the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us the Hall Committee was looking forward to seeing many weddings being celebrated in the hall this summer. The dreadful summer weather events and associated roading issues put a severe dampener on those hopes, but luckily only one wedding had to be cancelled at the last minute.
More unpleasant news came in the form of the realisation that the hall’s septic system has reached the end of its working life. The Hall Committee is working closely with TCDC on what a new system might look like, but realistically we expect that this project might take many months.
On a more positive note the committee has recently refreshed its website in order to make it easier for locals and visitors to find what they are looking for and to make a booking. The committee was delighted to be able to engage our beloved Flea to help with the photos. We hope you enjoy using the site.
Nominations for the KRRA Committee Now Open
Several long-standing members of the KRRA Committee are stepping down for a well-earned break this year, which means that the committee is looking for new members. Could that be you?
The time input is not large (the committee meets for a couple of hours approximately every 6 weeks) but the benefit to our community is huge. While progress seems achingly slow at times - after all, we can only advocate on behalf of our community to the appropriate government bodies - we are proud of the difference that we have been able to make over the years, with the recent new traffic calming measures in the village and the proposed upgrade to the tennis courts being just two examples.
And then of course there is this newsletter that keeps everyone informed plus the various surveys we undertake from time to time that enable our community to have their views and ideas heard.
If you are new to Kuaotunu and would like to get to know more people and make a contribution to your new community, please consider standing. Or if you are a long-standing resident and/or ratepayer of Kuaotunu who has never stood for the committee before but has strong views on what is best for Kuaotunu, not only for your family but for the wider community - please also consider standing! As the saying goes, many hands make light work.
Put it in Your Diary!
Sunday 9th April (Easter Sunday)
3pm at the Kuaotunu Hall.
All are welcome!
This newsletter is brought to you by the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc (KRRA).
Please note that the views expressed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of KRRA.
We’d love your feedback on this issue - please email your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like to contribute an article to this newsletter? We welcome contributions about events, happenings, projects etc that are relevant to the Kuaotunu community. Please note that the Newsletter Editor has the final say regarding content and may edit content if required.
To find out more about the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association, such as the date of the next meeting, how to join, agendas and minutes of previous meetings, etc, please click here. You are welcome to attend any committee meetings, these are usually held every 6 weeks.