School House Working Bee cancelled – sigh!
Sadly the opening of the old Piha Schoolhouse as a much needed community facility is still bogged down in the complexity of Council processes. The proposed working bee on the Piha Schoolhouse has been cancelled.
Andy Mardell, Wetlands Chairman, has sent CoastCare the following notice:
We are organising a working bee at the Piha schoolhouse at 10 am on Saturday the 25th of July. We will be stripping the paint off the sash windows and if you have a kerosene or electric burner or paint stripper and scrapers and are willing to give a hand. We would love you to join us and bring your friends (the more the merrier). It would be great is some of you could go along and join in on this working bee.
Then Auckland Council decided in its wisdom that the working bee could not go ahead. Here’s the Council-speak version:
“I have spoken to the Manager Area Operations regarding your request to undertake a working bee on the Piha Schoolhouse.Your request has not been approved as this building has heritage value and the works may require resource consent. The building is currently not in service and council are working through the reports received to address this.”
Pop-up Weeding Event THURSDAY 27th Feb, 8.30am @Piha Stream
HELP NEEDED with a timely intervention for the PIHA STREAM!
Because the CLIMBING DOCK (aka Rumex sagittatus) on the Piha Stream site is about to flower, we have decided to have a short-notice mid-week weeding bee
Pop-up Weeding Event THURSDAY 27th Feb @ Piha Stream
Meet from 8.30am (in the cool of the morning) in the vicinity of Hanlon Hut
Approach from behind the Gallery.
Bring basic gardening tools and gloves.
And maybe togs if you want to cool off in the stream afterwards.
Info from firstname.lastname@example.org
Herb field / Tennis Courts Restoration – Dates Set (see below)
Our next Tennis Courts Working Bee is this coming up on the Sunday November 10th at 10am.
Everyone welcome to join in! Come help care for our coast.
Easiest approach the Tennis Courts is by walking from the south end of Piha Beach to the Gap. Follow the track from the south end of the Gap up onto the plateau area up the hill above the Blowhole.
Contact Dan Real 021 220 7869 if you would like to be guided to the site from the Gap.
Weeding tools for removing small weeds are provided. A pointed vegetable knife (or a longer blade) is also suitable for the job.
Gloves are recommended.
Meet: Meet on site
Time: 10am. Morning tea provided.
Bring: Lunch, Raincoat, Water
The last Tennis Courts Working Bee 2019 will be November 10th 2019
SPECIAL EVENT Piha Library 20th Oct 2019 – Caring for our Birdlife
Dr Lynn Miller, Manager of NZ Bird Rescue Centre and internationally known for her work with the world’s birdlife, will be giving a talk at the Piha Library.
Lynne will talk about how to foster and preserve our precious birdlife. What to do if you find injured or sick birds and, especially at this time of the year, how to treat rescued baby birds.
There will also be an opportunity to have your questions answered by an expert.
Venue: Piha Library.
Date and Time: 3pm on Sunday October 20th 2019
Refreshments to follow
RSVP to give us an idea of numbers:
email@example.com or txt 021 66 55 05
It’s going to be great. See you there!
Whatipu Scientific Reserve Field Trip, May 19th 2019
The area between Karekare and Whatipu has undergone dramatic changes in recent years, as the bulge of sand from an ancient Taranaki event has accreted on this coast. We will take a first hand look at the dunes and wetlands that have formed in the Scenic Reserve.
This is an easy walk for moderately fit people of all ages. Bring a picnic lunch, walking shoes or sandals, and a raincoat.
Date: Sunday May 19th
Meet: Karekare Beach Carpark
Bring: Picnic lunch, water, walking shoes, raincoat
We expect the trip to take three to four hours. However, the way back to Karekare is easy to follow for anyone who needs to get away earlier.
Living with Dynamic Shorelines Conference 2019
The theme this year is ‘Living with Dynamic Shorelines’ which shouild resonate with us all. There will be presentations, plenty of opportunity to meet up with like-minded people and field-trips in the surrounding North Auckland area.
If you want to tap into some first-hand experience or find out who else might be going from Piha, contact the PihaCoastcare coordinator, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just book your bach or motel and enjoy three nights away.
Dates 27-29 March 2019
For more info and registration go to
After developing our planting plan, two weeding working bees and lots of work by our Rangers and their volunteers, the site we have chosen to begin restoration of the parkland on the Piha Streamside is finally ready for planting.
Sunday July 23rd is the date. We welcome everyone who would like to be a part of this project to bring to life a long neglected corner of our parkland. Families especially welcome
We will celebrate our efforts with a BBQ at about midday.
Date: Sunday July 23rd
Meet: By the building in the paddock behind the Art Gallery
Parking: On the roadside, and walk to the site. (probably boggy!)
Bring: Spade, weeding tools, strong footwear, gloves. (or use our tools)
Inquiries to Dan: Email email@example.com Mob 0212207869
or Pat: Email firstname.lastname@example.org Mob 021665505
Keep an eye on this page, or see our facebook page and newsletter for future weeding and planting days.
Stream side Working Bee
Sunday May 21st dawned crisp and clear for our stream side working bee, another step in our project to work with and under the direction of our Regional Park Ranger, Dan Real, in beautifying the Piha Stream side adjacent to the large grassed area behind the school house and Art Gallery.
With a band of cheerful and willing volunteers, we made much progress in eliminating the most damaging weeds along a stretch of the banks of the stream in preparation for planting in the next 6 – 8 weeks.
It was good to see that the pohutukawaswe planted on the grassed area around the curved edge of the stream are all looking fairly healthy.
Dan was able to take away a few large sacks of weeds and we all finished up in the little hut with drinks and munchies.
A good productive morning – and many thanks to the great team of volunteers who joined in to help enhance the area.
Biodiversity and Citizen Science Seminar – 30 April 2017 at Arataki Centre
It was good to get clarification on the breadth of the ramifications of biodiversity. George Perry (the Professor of Environmental Science at Auckland University) emphasised that, while part of biodiversity is the compiling of ‘lists’, the most important aspect is developing an understanding of the interaction and interdependence of species and of understanding the outcomes both environmentally and economically of the loss of function that occurs with the loss of biodiversity.
This meeting between scientists and community environmental volunteers was explained, encouraged and detailed at a seminar on biodiversity and citizen science organised by Trixie Harvey of the Waitakere Ranges Community Network.
Coastal Restoration Trust Conference
The Dune Restoration Trust has re-named itself to reflect more closely its current focus and activities which extend from beach to dune to back-dune to coastal forest and wetlands.
This year the Trust’s annual summer conference was held in Christchurch, a different experience from the more usual small town conference locations, but with a wealth of coast for us to explore, with issues both similar to and different from our local coastal environment.
One problem we don’t have to face here is the challenge of what to do when Marram grass has been planted as a well meaning but ultimately problematic solution to coastal dune erosion. Marram was brought into New Zealand from South Africa in the 1890’s as a seemingly suitable plant to retain coastal dunes but as is common with introduced plants, it causes as many if not more problems than it solves. A Marram dune grows very high and steep and eventually collapses, leaving unprotected gaps for windblown sand to invade the land. It is hard to remove without creating very unstable conditions so in a number of places in Canterbury we saw Spinifex planted in front of the Marram dune, which can be gradually eliminated as the Spinifex becomes established.
Coastcare Walk to Whites Beach and More…
On an a recent sunny mid-November Sunday, fourteen Coastcare supporters walked from Piha to White’s Beach, and then to the site of the former University Hut on the Fisherman’s ridge overlooking the Keyhole and back to Piha via Anawhata Road and White’s Track.
The first area of note was the considerable build-up of sand that has accumulated in recent years at the far north end of North Piha beach. Not too long ago the conveniently low spreading branches of the Pohutukawa trees were a natural playground for children to swing and bounce on. Those same branches are now well buried under the new dune that has accumulated there…read more
Piha Stream Working Bee
Sunday May 29th, 2016
24 keen Piha people gathered in the paddock beyond the Art Gallery to begin work on transforming the Piha Streamside and adjacent open area into a place where locals and visitors can explore, relax or walk to Thomas Algernon Green reserve in Glen Esk Road without using the increasingly busy road.
The weather forecast was rather daunting. However, we went ahead, and completed a considerable amount of tree planting, weed-eating, and stream bank weeding before the major downpour hit. With shelter in the Hanlon Hut, we enjoyed a barbecue while the kids took great joy in making the most of the torrential rain…read more
The Gap – Past Present and Future- Guided Walk April 2016
Sunday 17 April, 2016
About 30 keen people turned up for Coastcare’s first walk for the year, despite threatened heavy rain. After a quick car shuttle, we set off from the Piha Road access to the newest local addition to the Regional Park.
During our walk to the Gap we were given historical snippets from several people, including Ranger Dan, local Piha historian Sandra Coney, Council Parks historical interpreter Michelle Edge, and our youngest contributor, 12 year old Ruby.
Whatipu Wetlands Fieldtrip
Sunday 8th November 2015
Our field trip to the spectacular wetlands between Karekare and the Whatipu was a follow up from the wetlands workshop we held in August under the leadership of ecologist Shona Myers and native plant guru Jeff McCauley. They lead us on the trip which started at Karekare and went via Tunnel Point to the Pararaha Stream. The wetlands in this area have grown exponentially in recent years with the changing sand profile on this part of the west coast.
It was a fantastic event, and if you would like more information you can read more about our field-trip.
Sunday 11th October 2015
On Sunday 11th October we held our only dune planting event for the season. We work closely with Council with all our plantings, and in this instance Council offered us some plants that would otherwise have gone to waste. We put them into the area north of Lion Rock Corner (Marine Parade South). 500 Pingao were planted to increase the biodiversity of the dunes and enhance the ability of the plants to trap sand.
Dune Planting is easy work and an ideal opportunity to include children, grandchildren, neighbours etc. It’s a great way for the community to come together and to learn about our native ecosystems.
Wetlands Workshop- July 2015
Where: Piha Library
When: Sunday 26th July
What time:1 – 4.30 pm
Ecologist expert Shona Myers explained what conditions are needed for a healthy wetland, and why wetlands matter. We all went on a walk together with Piha’s plant expert, Jeff McCauley, and explored our local wetland areas.
Following this we shared a meal of warm soup and fresh bread- yum!
There will be a follow-up field trip to Whatipu later in the year.
Annual Conference of the Dune Restoration Trust of New Zealand- March 2015
This very worthwhile conference takes place from 11 – 13 March at Whitianga. Members of the Coastcare network can participate at the special price for volunteer environmental groups of $95 for 3 days of excellent presentation and a number of field trips to interesting programmes on the Coromandel Peninsula. For details go the Dune Restoration Trust’s website www.dunestrust.org.nz
Bluffs Guided Walks – February 2015
Jeff McCauley gave his time and expertise on two Saturdays in February this year to lead small groups on a guided walk on The Bluffs – bush tracks through a unique native forest setting developed on David and Viviane Robinson’s elevated 10 acre property overlooking Piha. This area, classified as (kauri) gumlands has some unique features and species.
Jeff, a Piha Coastcare trustee, local native plant nursery owner, and noted specialist in rare and endangered native plants, was able to direct the participants interest to several local rare and endangered species and to help them understand the intricate interdependence between landforms, flora and fauna in this geological classification.
After the walk, David and Viviane generously invited the walkers into their home to join them for afternoon tea and a chat. Feedback from the walkers was enthusiastic and appreciative, with requests for more events like this.
Dune Weed Clearance- February 2015
In February 2015 Pat La Roche, Coastcare’s Co-ordinator, led a group of young volunteers who were participating in a MADal (Making a Difference Alumni) hui at the Mill Camp, on a learning and working expedition to the beach. First stop was an ascent of Lion Rock to explain the mechanisms of natural dune processes, and to point out the numerous sites where Piha Coastcare has carried out dune restoration projects.
A walk along the beach took them to the dunes by the Wekatahi stream where the students willingly and energetically tackled invasive Lupins that are being gradually removed under an ongoing Council initiative.
Coastcare looks forward to an ongoing relationship with this organisation which promotes environmental leadership among secondary and tertiary students.
Annual Dune Plantings
Since 2003, Piha Coastcare has regularly carried out a winter dune planting programme, where damaged and denuded dunes have been planted with Spinifex and Pingao, the two most common and effective native dune binding grasses found in our region.
Up to eighty volunteers from our Coastcare network and allied groups have joined Sunday morning working bees to put in thousands of plants over ten or so years. The pleasing result of this work is that Piha dunes are currently in reasonably healthy condition. Weedy denuded foredunes have become a self-maintaining ecosystem. The ongoing challenges now are eliminating weeds from the dune system, and helping people understand the need to look after the vegetation on the dunes so that they remain self sufficient, forming a low vegetated dune rather than a steep bare scarp.
Initially these events were carried out in partnership with the Waitakere City Council and Auckland Regional Council. Plants were grown from seed gathered by Piha Coastcare, and sent to specialist nurseries in Taupo and Whakatane to be grown on and returned to the Piha dunes. With the advent of Auckland Council, an updated Memorandum of Understanding is being developed, and plans for the future will need to be approved by the Waitakere Ranges Local Board.