Ruakākā working bee

A collaboration of community and environmental groups and agencies is working to restore Ruakākā Dunes. As part of this Patuharakeke Te Taio Team, Aki Tai Here, Bream Bay Coastal Care Trust, DOC and NRC came together for a working bee for control of coastal wattle at Paradise Shores, Ruakākā, on Monday 8 April 2024. The day was organised by Mike Urlich of ReNative.

This area was traditionally known as Tupehau and is located within the rohe of Patuharakeke. The dunelands of Bream Bay run continuously for 18km along the coastline from Waipu Cove to Poupouwhenua (Marsden Point), broken only by the streams and estuaries at Ruakākā and Waipu.

Over the past two decades Bream Bay Coastal Care Trust and hapū have worked extensively to restore the dunes at Ruakākā and manage the habitat through weed and pest animal control and restoration planting. Over the last four years intensive weed control has taken place in the dunes north of Ruakākā rivermouth.

The area to the south of Paradise Shores has a core or ‘island’ of native kanuka forest association, including totara trees, but this is surrounded and invaded by woody weeds, primarily coastal wattle (Acacia sophorae). The goal is to take out the wattle and allow the native sequence to recover, from foredune, to coastal forest.

The working bee on 8 April focused on the spread of coastal wattle. This pest plant is very invasive and rapid-growing, crowding out native plant species. Aki Tai Here’s trained weedbusters shared their skills and using the “drill and fill” method almost one hectares of dense wattle was poisoned.

The working bee demonstrates the value of working together to restore and protect native biodiversity. Sue Jolly, from the Bream Bay Coastal Trust commented:

“The inter-agency coordination and cooperation shown today and all working together made this a highly successful day.

Many thanks to Mike Urlich for organising us. Without his passion and drive the day would not have happened. Thanks also for the training given. This will help us be more effective in our future weed management efforts. We can all be well pleased with what we achieved today.”

Te Kaurinui (Kauri) Parata from Aki Tai Here said; “It’s good to be a part of this collaboration today, it was a priority for our team. This is a big project and there’s a lot of work here. It’s exciting to build on our relationship with Patuharakeke and the local community group. We look forward to following up next year and continuing to do impactful work”.

Patuharakeke Te Taiao team have been involved in multiple projects, including pest management and monitoring of dune habitats for native birds, lizards and the threatened katipo spider. There is huge scope for skills sharing between Te Taiao groups and with the increased capacity of Patuharakeke kaimahi in environmental weed management the hapū, if appropriately resourced, will be able to restore native habitats at large scale across the coastal area of Bream Bay.