Pāuanui Dune Planting Project

Join our community planting two day plantathon here.

In collaboration with the Pāuanui Dune Protection Society and Waikato Coastcare, our Council are moving forward with a project to restore the current dune system at the southern end of Pāuanui beach (approximately between beach access #10 and #11) to increase coastal resilience and enable better management of the reserve space.

Coastal resilience is increased by undertaking community-based coastal restoration with native dune plants, which traps sand and rebuilds (self-repair) seaward following natural erosion events and when available sand comes ashore. This also increases coastal biodiversity and the capacity to cope with disturbances, induced by factors such as sea level rise, extreme events, and human impacts, by adapting whilst maintaining their essential functions.

The current southern dune system has been eroded significantly due to natural wave and wind conditions over the past two winters and has no native plants to self-repair during calmer ocean conditions.

This erosion has caused the following issues which need to be addressed:

  • Lack of sufficient active foredune covered with native sand-binding plants, where the dune system will either remain in the same place or continue to erode landward
  • Wind-blown sand hindering reserve access for bikes, wheelchairs etc and inhibiting potential grass growth

This trial includes planting native dune plants that can thrive in a hostile environment with the intention of:

  • Speeding up natural recovery of dunes after storms
  • Building up sand dunes to buffer wave erosion
  • Reducing windblown erosion onto the reserve
  • Enabling cost-effective use of organic fertiliser to regenerate (and improve the use of) the grassed reserve landward of the planted area

dune before and after

This planting trial will provide an extra buffer to storm erosion and allow for ‘hands free’ dune recovery, provide better access for all members of the public, and over time enhance and protect existing and restored dunes along the entire reserve area with better defined accessways. This project will result in reduced costs for spraying and weeding and adheres to the key policy guidance from the RMA 1991, NZCPS 2010 and Reserves Act 1977:

  • provide where appropriate for the protection, restoration or enhancement of natural defences (such as dunes) that protect coastal land uses, or sites of significant biodiversity, cultural or historic heritage or geological value, from coastal hazards
  • encourage natural regeneration of indigenous species
  • maintain diversity of indigenous coastal species
  • ensure, as far as possible, the survival of all indigenous species of flora and fauna.

A community planting event is booked in for 13 -15 May this year, and we would welcome all volunteers who would like to offer their support. Thank you in advance and for more information about the community planting day or the project, please contact: Martin Hopkins (Pauanui Dune Protection Society) – martin@teddytime.co.nz - 021 410 008; Jamie Boyle (coastal scientist, TCDC) – jamie.boyle@tcdc.govt.nz – 027 221 8636.