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7.8 Case Study 2: Matapouri dune restoration

The Whangarei District Council has undertaken a restoration project to reinstate a dune system which had been compromised through the introduction of exotic plant species and damage due to pedestrians accessing Matapouri Beach. The lack of dune vegetation had led to blow outs which resulted in large quantities of the sand being blown into the carpark, house sections and on to the road during prolonged easterly winds.

Diggers were used to remove inappropriate vegetation, soil and any rubble. The site was then recontoured to a more natural profile with a bulldozer, fenced into sections and board walks constructed. Finally pingao was mass planted and fertilised and signs erected to ask visitors to keep out of the fenced areas to give the plants a chance to grow.

Matapouri Beach before restoration work.

Matapouri Beach before restoration (left) and after restoration (right).

There has also been so much sand accumulation that the fences installed at the ocean side of the dunes are near to being completely buried and a small new dune has formed. The restoration project was such a huge success that the WDC has gained consent to continue the project down the entire beach.