Waipu Cove dune restoration wins national award

3 Apr 2017

Tireless community-driven efforts to restore Waipu Cove’s iconic dunes over the past decade have been recognised with a national award.

The Waipu Cove Reserve Board was named winner of ‘Best Coastal Dune Restoration Project’ by the Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand at the trust’s annual conference in Christchurch recently.

The board operates the hugely popular Camp Waipu Cove.  Its efforts to restore the dunes bordering the campground have been supported by the Northland Regional Council’s CoastCare programme and local Langs Beach-based councillor Rick Stolwerk is delighted with its success.

“This award recognises the ‘on the ground’ achievements of a coastal restoration project and is open to community groups and organisations carrying out coastal restoration work right around the country.”

The winning project is restoring Waipu Cove’s dunes as natural defences against coastal hazards, while maintaining and enhancing the recreational opportunities there.

Judges were impressed by what has been achieved by the board and Cr Stolwerk (the council’s Coastal South constituency representative) says the board’s success is well-deserved and a testament to large amounts of work by many people over a number of years.

The board is a non-profit voluntary entity which directs all revenue from the campground and other activities to fund maintenance and improvements in the camp and adjoining public reserve.

The latest stage in its restoration project saw a 100-metre section of the steep bank reshaped to match the natural dune profile and the removal of historic fill material, some of it placed there decades ago.

“The upper part of this newly-formed dune has been intensively planted with native sand-binders spinifex and pingao and accompanying this work has been education, signage, fencing and provision of accessways.”

Councillor Stolwerk – who is also president of the Waipu Cove Surf Lifesaving Club – says the restoration work has been well-received by Waipu Cove beach users who have respected fences installed there and made good use of the access steps.

Work is set to continue over winter with more reshaping and planting planned in the area further north of the camp.

Councillor Stolwerk says the award is recognition for the countless hours of work put in by dozens of people, including campground manager Anton Trist, who has managed the project locally for the past few years.

“Northland is fortunate to have so many community-minded individuals prepared to invest so much of their time and effort into making our region a better place; not just for locals and visitors, but for our shared environment too.”