Community Newsletter

Measuring Earthquakes in Kuaotunu

Probably not many local residents are aware that Kuaotunu is the home of New Zealand’s most advanced seismograph to measure earthquakes. Hidden deep in the Blue Fridge Valley is an old gold mining tunnel that has been the home for almost 40 years for one of these instruments that form the Geological and Nuclear Science’s ‘Geonet’ network. 

3 GNS geologists standing in an old gold mining tunnel in Kuaotunu installing an upgraded seismographThese instruments measure minute earth tremors, which are uploaded in real time via a sophisticated data link with battery backup to the central data centre. Results for all the instruments are available on the GNS website (https://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/drums) and are updated every 5 minutes. 

Our seismograph has the code KUZ and the latest results can be seen by clicking on the red dot for Kuaotunu on the map of NZ. There is also a page on this website (https://felt.geonet.org.nz/) where you can submit your experience if you happen to feel an earthquake.

KRRA had been complaining for months that the old instrument was no longer working and in August the instrument was finally replaced and is now one of the most sensitive in the country. 

The Kuaotunu site is considered to the best in New Zealand. This is a consequence of it being deep in the bowls of the earth and thus unaffected by vibrations from wind and pedestrians, and also largely protected from the vehicle shaking that plagues other sites in more built up areas.

The images show the GNS geologists installing the upgraded seismograph and the concrete block box it is housed in. A good example of the latest technology being used to keep us safe making use of the hard work of our gold mining pioneers.

Emergency Response Plan – Survey Update

You may remember completing an initial survey form in 2019 that enabled you to give information to our local Kuaotunu Emergency Support Group (KESG) that can help our local emergency services to help you in the event of an emergency.

The results of this survey have proven an invaluable source of information for our team in helping members of our community through COVID lockdown periods and beyond, and it has now been decided to hold this survey bi-annually, in order to keep our information up-to-date about who is in our area (both residents and regular visitors).

You can complete the survey by clicking the button below, or you can fill in the paper version that was distributed to mailboxes over Labour Weekend and drop this into the Civil Defence Collection Box at the Kuaotunu Store.

Your participation is optional, however the more information we have the more effective our community response to any emergency event can be. The survey takes less than a few minutes, and we would appreciate your prompt response as we are aiming to have this process completed by mid December.
If you have any questions you are welcome to contact the local survey co-ordinator, Carolyn Gibbs, on 021 2163255.

Complete the Kuaotunu Civil Defence Emergency Questionnaire

New Memorial Seat

Thanks to the awesome generosity of Chris Charteris, our renowned local sculptor, a small gathering took place recently on the Simpson Reserve to celebrate the placement of a memorial seat for Cliff & Julie Heraud.

Shaped out of a large kauri log rescued from Brophys Beach, Chris along with the Heraud family agreed that the spot where Cliff & Julie regularly went for their daily swim was perfect for this work of art.

Cliff & Julie started the Kauri 2000 Trust in 1999 and Cliff also chaired the founding Trust that established the Steiner Kindergarten here in Kuaotunu. Feel welcome to recline on this seat and reflect on our rich heritage! 

Update from the Kuaotunu Steiner Kindergarten Trust

In acknowledgment of the constant support and dedication from so many individuals and the community since the Kindergarten was first established, the Kuaotunu Steiner Kindergarten Trust would like to provide an update on the current situation and our future plans.

As of the November 16th the Kindergarten will TEMPORARILY close, most likely for the remainder of the school year.

Since the initial introduction of the education Vaccine Mandate, the guidelines governing educational settings  have constantly evolved to those we are now presented with and which underpin our decision to temporarily close.

The Kindergarten has and will always operate within government regulations and health orders. The Trust’s focus will ALWAYS be the well-being and education of the children, the needs of their whanau and the sustainability of our organisation as a whole. To this end, the Trust has explored all avenues to remain open as a constant and safe educational setting for our families. Unfortunately a final call has been made that opening is temporarily not possible.

Adding to the challenge to remain open has been the national shortage of qualified ECE teachers, particularly those with experience within our special character Steiner setting.

The Trust’s focus will now be on rebuilding the Kindergarten for long-term continuity. We are working towards re-opening in January 2022.

As was the case with Kindergarten’s initial establishment 30 years ago, we would like to draw on the strength of members of the community and interested families to regroup and go forward with a renewed energy. We will be keeping the community informed of upcoming meetings so please watch this space.

As a Charitable Trust, all our processes are transparent (within legalities), if you have any ideas or comments, please contact our chairperson directly: chairperson@kuaotunukindergarten.co.nz

Kuaotunu Hall Looking Smart

Greetings from the Hall Committee.  Many of you will have noticed that over the winter months and into early spring there has been a range of work being done around and inside the hall. 

Firstly, further necessary repairs were done to the exterior of the building including fascia boards and soffit.  This revealed deteriorating original construction kauri layered well with lead paint; all was carefully removed and then disposed of.  Where necessary, the exterior windows were renovated as required and everything was painted such that the building can endure the harsh sunlight it receives from the North. 

Renovation work was also done to the front storage room (once the library) such that it is now fully insulated, properly lined and has renovated, functional windows.  This room will be used for secure storage and enable all pews and chairs to be placed in the back storage room for better and safer access.

Looking at the Kuaotunu Hall from the back lawn, with the new fence to the left

The Hall's improved backyard including a new fence

Secondly, further work has been done with landscaping largely in areas which are not so immediately obvious but were necessary to ensure eradication of noxious weeds and to improve those areas and materials which were deteriorating.

As was so often encountered in the building work on the hall (the uncovering of many unforeseen 'snags'), the landscaping work also had some surprises which were bravely met by Gavin and Dani of G&D Property Services.

This last lot of work largely concludes the many major and minor renovations that have been carried out over many of the last years. Many people have been involved throughout this long time and we thank you all; the community would not have such a fine building were it not for your on-going input.

The Hall Committee especially wishes to acknowledge and thank Paul Sayers and his crew from Sayers Construction for the care and dedication they have shown throughout this time.

The Kuaotunu Hall is used regularly by many different groups with a wide range of interests.  It is recognised as a great venue for special occasions - both locally and even internationally(!)  Our hall really is a great community asset and we hope you can all get to enjoy it in the near future.


Your Residents & Ratepayer's committee was delighted to learn of the decision from the Ministry of Primary Fisheries to close the East Coromandel scallop fishery for 2 years as from the 11th of September 2021. We would like to thank all of you who took the time to make a submission on this issue, and Luke's Kitchen for sponsoring the survey of the scallop fishery within our own local waters.

As most of you know, KRRA normally holds a public meeting in early January, so that both local residents and absentee ratepayers have the opportunity to get together and natter about what's been happening locally and what issues are important and need further attention.

However given the increasing spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the inadvisability of holding large indoor gatherings in such circumstances, your committee feels that such a meeting would not be appropriate this January.  We will consider early next year whether the Annual General Meeting can go ahead at Easter or whether we need to hold an electronic voting process as we did in 2020.

Interested in Reducing our Food Waste?

The Thames-Coromandel Food Waste Re-Source team is calling on TCDC to stop sending our food waste to the landfill, and implement other measures that transform waste into a resource.

For more information please visit their campaign webpage where you can sign their petition to support this initiative.

Their team would also appreciate your filling in a short survey on this topic.

Take the Thames-Coromandel Food Waste Minimisation Survey

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.

KRRA thanks the following people for their contributions to this edition: Alastair Brickell; Brent Page; John Thorburn (Kuaotunu Hall Committee); Carolyn Gibbs (Kuaotunu Emergency Support Group); and the Thames-Coromandel Food Waste Re-Source Team. 

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.