Community Newsletter

What Kuaotunu locals got up to during the Covid-19 lockdown - building forts at the beach, knitting and woodwork

So what did you get up to during lockdown?

We might have been locked down but the weather was wonderful, and hey we live in one of the most beautiful places in NZ!

From enjoying the great outdoors to getting creative indoors, Kuaotunu locals seem to have made the most of lockdown as can be seen from the above photos.

Top: the Goodall family building forts on Kuaotunu beach.
Bottom left: Charlie modelling a baby hoodie knitted by Jose Kakebeeke.
Bottom right: Rupert Nielsen's woodwork creations.

Got some spare time on Saturday 1 August?

The Kuaotunu Dune Care group (with the assistance of Tanya Patrick, the Coastal Restoration Coordinator for TCDC) is planning a community working bee on Saturday the 1st of August to restore the dune area at the end of the Turoa Reserve (i.e. the reserve across the road from Luke’s Kitchen). 

As you can see in this photo, the two circled areas are badly eroded (mostly by people walking across them to access the beach) and are also covered in weeds. 

Tanya is planning to bring in a digger the week before to do some reconstruction of the banks. After the working bee to plant a variety of dune species, TCDC will rope off the area to stop people walking through.
The plants, supplied by TCDC, will include:

  • Spinifex (the plants with the long runners and the tumble weeds)
  • Pingao (orange creepers – they used to use this for weaving)
  • Knobby Club Rush / Wiwi (the green rushes with knobs of seed at the ends)
  • Muehlenbeckia (the wiry bushes that like to climb over the rushes)
  • Sand Coprosma (i.e. Coprosma Acerosa – also wiry similar to Muehlenbeckia but more yellow in colour).

If you can spare a few hours of your time for this event (which will start at 8:30am and hopefully be finished by 11:30am) please let Carrie Parker know by emailing kuaotunudunecare@gmail.com or calling her on 867 1299. 

All you need to bring is enthusiasm, garden gloves, sun and weather protection, and a water bottle. Tanya will supply fertilizer tablets and spades.  We need about 15 - 20 people to make light work of it.  In case of rain, the event will be postponed to the following day, Sunday 2 August. A reminder will be posted on Kuaotunu Katchup closer to the day.

Food Forest volunteers back in action

Volunteers for the Kuaotunu Food Forest have begun work after an extended break due to Covid-19.

Local community members are encouraged to join in and assist at their convenience, whether with weeding around the gardens, seaweed collecting, or joining the weekly working bee that happens from 10am Wednesday mornings with local gardening guru Michaela. 

Some grass growth has been cleared under the fruit trees ready for mulch from the nearby pile to be distributed, and many seedlings that were kindly donated by Chris Charteris and Lizzie Leckie have been planted.

Two other locals Tim and Graham have also kindly built a cupboard for surplus produce from the gardens (or any other private local gardens) to offer to those in need locally.

A special thank you to Paul Reily for his recent digger work to help with preparing the mulch.

Any questions contact courtney@happylocal.com.

Join us for a drink, nibble & natter in August

Your KRRA committee is planning to hold its postponed AGM in mid August (date and details to be confirmed shortly).

Given that we are mostly all at home this winter, we felt this was an ideal opportunity to not only get together to take care of formal KRRA business (hopefully short & sweet!) but also for the whole community to get together and socialise.

It is VITAL that as many of our community as possible keep involved in any decisions that affect us! Please consider joining our committee and helping make good decisions that truly reflect our aspirations.

Nominate someone for the KRRA Committee

Note that our next committee meeting is on Thursday the 2nd of July (committee meetings are always advertised on the home page of the Kuaotunu website and also in the Community Calendar) as your committee has decided to move to 6 weekly meetings, rather than monthly.  

Note that KRRA subs are now due -  see how to pay your sub.

Not a member? If you appreciate the work that KRRA does on your behalf, please consider joining. The more members we have, the greater our mandate when making representations on behalf of the Kuaotunu community to the agencies we deal with such as TCDC, DOC, Waikato Regional Council etc.

Thumbs up to the Covid-19 Kuaotunu Community Emergency Response Team

The double blessing for those of us in Kuaotunu during lockdown was a constant refrain: how lucky we were to be in NZ and how lucky we were to be on the Coromandel.

This positivity was a key feature of the Covid-19 Kuaotunu Community Emergency Response Team (KCERT), a group born out of a need identified by TCDC in 2019 and put together by the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association (KRRA), along with Kuaotunu Search and Rescue (KSAR), and our local volunteer Fire and Emergency Service (FENZ).
As the Covid-19 pandemic was the group’s first emergency, what could have been a trial by fire was actually a smooth process thanks to the team assembled to aid the community - all locals.

In addition to KRRA, KSAR and FENZ, members of the group included St John, local health professionals (including specialists in mental health) and community liaison volunteers.

The range of backgrounds meant we felt well covered to identify a range of potential and actual problems and could solve them via a very strong hive mind.
The team was assembled within 24 hours of lockdown and met via regular Zoom meetings, and it was quickly decided that it should also support the smaller neighbouring beaches whose residents use Kuaotunu as a hub: Rings Beach, Otama, Opito and Matapaua, and further team members were added from these communities.
The 2019 civil defence questionnaire completed by residents and ratepayers gave the group a database to start from, and from there we were able to see who was isolating in Kuaotunu during this time and, vitally, who amongst this group were vulnerable and in need of assistance with groceries, medication or who would just benefit from knowing that we were there if needed.

Within 14 days we knew we had 152 households isolating within the community (this eventually grew to 171), and members of the team began regular trips to Whitianga to shop for those identified as vulnerable. The KSAR Landcruiser was used for regular patrols throughout the communities during Level 4, providing a visible presence to many vulnerable and isolated people that emergency service assistance was available if needed.

A dedicated Facebook page was set up to provide information and support. The team worked hard to keep the page a positive space as we felt it was important to be upbeat and helpful during what was a uniquely stressful time for the whole world. The Zoom meetings helped identify what kind of help people were looking for, be it clarification of lockdown rules or contact information for services.
The Kuaotunu community prides itself on being inclusive and kind. It’s an amazing collective of diverse and wonderful people and the members of KCERT feel extremely proud to have supported Kuaotunu through the lockdown. We feel equipped to take on future emergencies though please, not for awhile!
The KCERT members
Steve Hart, Keith Goodall, Lise Hermansen, Jannine Verner, Jose Kakebeeke, Courtney Linnecar, Craig & Natelle Lidgard, Cameron Fleming, Carolyn Wadey-Barron, Carolyn Gibbs, Paul Kington.

Free listings on the Kuaotunu website this year

Due to the huge disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic the KRRA committee unanimously decided that no fees should be charged for listings on the Kuaotunu website this year. 

So if you operate a business in Kuaotunu, or are an accommodation provider, or provide activities for locals and visitors - why not request a listing?

Local artists & artisans (including our neighbours in Otama and Opito Bay) are also entitled to free listings on the Artists & Artisans page - click here to request your listing.

Want to support Kuaotunu Bird Rescue?

Why not purchase a jar or two of John Scott's famous jams and chutneys?

All profits are going to support the fabulous work that the Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust does looking after birds from all around the Coromandel peninsula.

Contact Annemieke for details.

TCDC seeking feedback on their draft Community Plan for Mercury Bay North

TCDC advised last year that instead of maintaining separate Community Plans for each town on the peninsula they would instead create a series of combined plans.

Those of you who attended KRRA's public meeting at Easter last year will remember that this was the topic of much discussion, and a resolution was passed that that "the Kuaotunu community whole-heartedly supports its individual Community Plan, as represented by the KRRA, for Kuaotunu; and wants confirmation from TCDC that it will be respected".

Despite assurances from Sandra Goudie to the contrary, TCDC has now proceeded to develop a combined Community Plan for Mercury Bay North, and is seeking feedback by Friday 26 June.

Your KRRA committee is heartened that our own plan has been specifically referenced in this document. If you would like to add your feedback to ours, please contact us, otherwise please provide your own feedback directly to TCDC:

Provide feedback to TCDC on the Mercury Bay North Community Plan

This newsletter is brought to you by the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc (KRRA). KRRA thanks the following people for their contributions to this edition: Hayley Goodall; Jose Kakebeeke; Rupert Nielsen; the Kuaotunu Community Emergency Response Team (KCERT); Courtney Linnecar; TCDC; and Carrie Parker. 

We’d love your feedback on this issue - please email your thoughts and suggestions to info@kuaotunu.nz.  

Like to contribute an article to this newsletter? We welcome contributions about events, happenings, projects etc that are relevant to the Kuaotunu community (maximum of 250 words, please). 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 on a Thursday.