Community Newsletter

Have Your Say on the Proposed Scallop Harvesting Ban

As mentioned in the December newsletter, the Opito Bay Ratepayers Association (OBRA) is spearheading an initiative to work with Ngati Hei to place a rahui on the scallop beds from Whangapoua to Opoutere until the beds recover, the objective being to have a sustainable scallop fishery for all to enjoy.

In order to support the need for the rahui, OBRA engaged LegaSea to manage a scientific survey of the Opito Bay scallop beds.

With the support of the Kuaotunu Residents & Ratepayers Association (KRRA), Luke Reilly recently started a similar survey, with the help of many locals and DiveZone Whitianga - thanks to Steve Mac and Julian for the boats and Josh (Cobba) for the air.

To date two days have been spent on the water, with 14 sites covered between Otama and Kuaotunu (more sites will be covered when the water clears up). According to Luke the numbers of scallops counted is pretty depressing.

If you support the application by Ngāti Hei to temporarily close the eastern Coromandel coast to all scallop harvesting for the next two years, please make a submission to the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, David Parker and Fisheries New Zealand.

Submissions close 5pm, Monday 17 May 2021

A New Face on the Kuaotunu Hall Committee

The Kuaotunu Hall Committee is delighted to announce that local resident Kim Crosland has agreed to take up the role of Bookings Manager.

The years of hard work on the hall building and surrounds by successive hall committees and many, many members of our community, have meant that the hall is now a delightful, warm & dry space for all sorts of events, and is becoming increasingly well used.

The subsequent increase in the number of bookings however has resulted in much more administration work, and we are very grateful that Kim has agreed to help out by taking on this role.

For those of you who don't know Kim, read on... 

"The four of us (Nige, Zoe and Aron) emigrated to New Zealand from the south of England 19 years ago with permanent residency and settled on the North Shore of Auckland.

We spent 14 wonderful years in Murrays Bay and four years in Campbells Bay, and during that time became citizens of this beautiful country.

"Looking ahead to our retirement we purchased a bach in Kuaotunu two years ago, then following lockdown last year Nige decided to retire early from the construction industry so we sold up in Auckland and moved to the wonderful Kuaotunu permanently in June 2020.

"I am still working from home consulting in the tertiary education sector, while enjoying meeting the locals through yoga classes, committee meetings and walks on the beach. Nige is part of the Dune Care Team and when he’s not working on house projects (which is very often) he loves his golf in Whitianga.

"I am very much looking forward to this new role of Bookings Manager for the Kuaotunu Hall as it's such a special place to hold any event. I am sure I will get to know more of you along the way. If you see us around please say hi...". 

Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust Needs Your Help

The Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust (KBRT) is run and managed by our very own Annemieke Kregting, with the ongoing support of her ever-patient husband Ben.

From humble beginnings 17 years ago, working mostly on her own caring for a few birds in their laundry and self-funding the day-to-day needs of the operation, today Annemieke's KBRT is a nearly fully self-sufficient Wild Bird clinic.

Today KBRT takes in around 400 birds a year, with the numbers going up each year. This year started off with just under one hundred birds admitted in January alone!

Though the Trust is well supported with volunteer help, and has five local dedicated helpers as well as two Te Rerenga middle school students, the ongoing growth has necessitated major improvements for which Annemieke is seeking financial help to fund.
Annemieke explains: "Recently after a generous donation of fish from Moana Fisheries, we were forced to purchase a bigger reliable freezer to store all our food. A commercial freezer was bought and added to our storeroom. This gave us the idea of making better use of the storeroom and making it a food preparation room as well, but to do this we needed a kitchen unit with a sink and running water. 

"Apart from these major renovations we have also decided to look into purchasing an Oxygen Concentrator. The majority of our feathered patients have serious traumatic injuries and oxygen therapy would make a significant difference in their recovery and outcome.
"We are hoping to raise around $5,000 to cover the cost of these upgrades. If you are able to help, please click here to go directly to the donation page on our website. Tax deductible receipts are available, and donors are welcome to arrange to visit the facilities."

KBRT has become very much a community organisation with its involvement with DOC, Forest and Bird, Project Kiwi, Otama Reserves Group, Sea Scouts, Te Rerenga School and the Kuaotunu Steiner Kindergarten. On behalf of the Trust Annemieke would like to thank the regular donors in the Kuaotunu community, without whom KBRT would not be able to run an organisation like this. 

For more information please email kubirdrescue@gmail.com.

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Progress in the Fight against Wilding Pines

Earlier this year the Kuaotunu Peninsula Trust (KPT), working closely with other community environmental groups, was successful in gaining $375k of funding to turbo the existing work to eradicate wilding pines from our peninsula. 

This funding has come from the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme which is funding community-led projects to control wilding pines, principally on public land, throughout New Zealand.
The areas in which KPT's funding will be spread are:
(i)   the Black Jack peninsula 
(ii)  the Matarangi Bluff Scenic Reserve (Rings Beach Wetland Group)
(iii)  Opito Bay (Opito Bay Ratepayers Association)
(iv)  Inland Waitaia land (Project Kiwi)
(v)   Other areas including the Whauwhau coast.
The funding also covers the cost of a project manager and other administrative and operational expenses.
One of the conditions of the grant was that the funds be managed (and the project coordinated) by the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) working collaboratively with KPT. This approach relieved KPT - and the other community groups which are benefitting from the funding -  of issues around tax and GST, the direct employment of staff and contractors, Health and Safety risks, insurance and other back office service costs. On the other hand it has necessitated compliance with local body processes which has led to unanticipated delays.

At the present time the appointed project manager, Celine Derouet, is liaising with representatives of the relevant groups, contractors, KPT, WRC, DOC and other stakeholders. Preliminary work has been undertaken to identify and prioritise areas for wilding control. It is KPT's understanding that work on the ground will commence in the Black Jack within the next few days.  
It is excellent that the importance of the control of wilding pines in our area has been acknowledged by central government, and KPT will continue to work with WRC, MPI and other stakeholders in this endeavour.

Do You Have Some Free Time this Wednesday?

Sand dunes are our natural barrier to the sea, but are one of our most highly modified and degraded ecosystems. Dunes are under pressure from introduced weeds and people surfing the dunes, destroying dune species and sand binding plants that protect the coastline from erosion.
Our next project on Wednesday 19th May at 9am -10.30am is to remove marram grass and other invasive weeds from the Big Rock Reserve ‘Ruihana Kawhero”. This is the reserve before the Kuaotunu Bridge heading south.  Marram grass is a vigorous invasive grass, which will overtop native plants reducing the habitat for native birds and insects.
On Saturday 5th June at 9am - 10.30am we plan to start to clean up the back dunes reserve at Grays Beach, adjacent to the estuary. Much of the original native planting has been choked by weeds. Spraying has recently been done by TCDC and now the weeds need to be removed from around the natives to enable them to flourish.
We are looking for locals and bach owners who are down for the Queen’s Birthday weekend to join us. Meet near the view point on the reserve, opposite the camping ground entrance.

Last year planting and weeding was carried out at the Black Jack Reserve.  More infill planting is planned, as a few of the original seedlings were washed out by rain, not long after planting, however overall the survival rate has been very good. Planting is planned for Saturday July 10th with plants supplied by TCDC. 

Many hands make light work and we are looking for more volunteers to join this group to help restore and rejuvenate our coastal environment. Please bring your gardening gloves and spade. TCDC will take away all the weeds we generate. 

If you require more information please contact Jenny Crawford, Kuaotunu Dune Care coordinator (kuaotunudunecare@gmail.com,  ph 021 566035).

Successful KRRA AGM and New Logo

The AGM of the Kuaotunu Residents & Ratepayers Association (KRRA) was held on Easter Sunday, and was well attended with 64 financial members present plus and several guests.

The required quorum of 69 (one third of the total 207 financial members as at the date of the meeting) was achieved with thanks to the many members who were unable to attend on the day but who had taken the time to cast their votes online beforehand. 

No election of officers was required as no further nominations were received on the day of the meeting and thus the 10 people who had already submitted nominations were confirmed as elected. You can see a list of the current committee members here

A wide range of topics was discussed at the meeting and these discussions have been documented in the minutes which you can read here.

At the first committee meeting after the AGM the committee agreed on a new logo: 

We hope you like it!

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: Luke Reilly (KRRA);  Kim Crosland (Kuaotunu Hall Committee); Annemieke Kregting (Kuaotunu Bird Rescue Trust); Jenny Crawford (Kuaotunu Dune Care); Kristina Pickford (Kuaotunu Peninsula Trust). 

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. 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.