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Letters to the Editor

Equal access at Te Arai
I’ve lived near Mangawhai for over a decade, have been a regular user of the beach at Te Arai and have been involved with the community regarding the development and community access at Te Arai Beach.

There are a number of statements in this article (Te Uri oHau: No restrictions on Te Arai; Mangawhai Focus, May 23) that are lacking factual accuracy.

The current location of the car park behind the dunes has been in place since the 1960s. The community have accessed this part of the beach for more than 50 years. There has never been an application, verbal or written, requesting that the size of the car park be increased or that human access to this part of Te Arai be limited.

The only part of the coast where anyone has ever suggested limiting human encroachment is the inner part of the sand spit between the Mangawhai estuary and the sea, where shore birds breed and where there is little reason for humans to venture. This area is a very long way from the Black Swamp Road access to Te Arai Beach and the popular swimming, fishing and surfing playground of so many.

To reach the spit would involve quite a trudge along the beach in a northerly direction. If you were determined to disturb the bird life on the spit you would cross the estuary from somewhere near the Mangawhai Heads boat ramp, presumably by boat.

Environment groups (such as the Fairy Tern Trust and the Te Arai Preservation Society) to date have not condemned the location of the car park and in fact support the location as it resides in an area that has no identified threatened species of bird.

Visitors use one of the two sand tracks from the parking area to reach the beach. These visitors respect the dunes and do not walk over them. The approved housing development all along the coast poses the biggest threat to the disturbance of the dunes

As to vehicular access, the only vehicle I have seen on the beach was an amphibian one which careened over the dunes, traversed the beach, entered the waves and proceeded out to a waiting launch, not much smaller than a naval destroyer.

Making a blanket statement suggesting that there have been many complaints and issues with bikes is ludicrous. None of these allegations have been substantiated. In fact to make this statement now seems convenient when trying to limit community access to a public reserve.

An Environment Court ruling supports the current location and therefore access must remain as it is.

In my thirteen years of using this beach I have never heard of any robbery, vandalism or other antisocial behaviour occurring at the car park at this end of Te Arai beach. I have heard of break-ins occurring occasionally in the past at Te Arai Point.

Again, Mr Kemp’s attempts to create confusion by furnishing inaccurate and unsubstantiated information is both disappointing and flies in the face of working together with the community to ensure that any changes to our beach are done with sufficient consultation.

I am not aware of the community group that Mr Kemp met with regarding the moving of the car park back in November last year. I for one have never heard of the drop box he refers to. It’s not the usual place for the general public to glean information about developments in their community. A paragraph or two in a local newspaper would have been the normal way to announce such an intention.

Access to Te Arai must be in the spirit of equal opportunity to all residents and members of the community.

Melanie Scott

Unfair reporting?

Was it really necessary to present such a damning report on a Mangawhai citizen (Valerie Kerr) for a misdemeanour that was hardly of national importance?

I do not see you report the names and details on the front page of convicted P drug manufacturers of which there has been a fair number in the district, a truly despicable crime.

I, and others, think it very unjust to emblazon this person’s name and details on the front page of a small local newspaper. To me it smacks of victimisation. In fact one could be forgiven for thinking it was very biased indeed.

Betty Atkin-Cooke

Goodbye Mangawhai Harbour

Roy Vaughan’s summary of mangrove facts fails to educate people to the ‘home truths’ and is tantamount to a slap in the face of past volunteer efforts to save Mangawhai Harbour.

Roy discreetly glosses over man’s contribution to the mangrove invasion (rehab farm development and fertile runoff) and nature’s role being the diminished supply of sand from the Firth of Thames which led up to the 1978 breach, the Big Dig and the still vulnerable Distal Spit. Serious remedial action needs to begin today!

Whilst current dredging, mangrove removal and spit planting are beneficial, reclamation and recovery rates fall short due to diminished sand supply.

Since the burn-off of spit vegetation many years ago the east-southeast winds progressively deflated the mid section of the spit and reduced the southern sand hills to half their original size dumping tons of sand into the harbour to be flushed onto the bar.

This, coupled with silt run-off from farmland made a fertile growing bed for mangroves in the upper shallows of the harbour effecting tidal volume and flow rate. The MHRS mangrove removal campaign is this community fighting back. In my world this community needs to build a southern groyne to stabilise the northern end of the spit – dump a sand/silt mix from the upper shallows back onto the spit before planting to ensure long-term survival against rising sea levels. Without the Distal Spit it’s ‘goodbye Mangawhai Harbour’.

Roy, I will donate $25,000 into a ‘Mangawhai Southern Groyne Building Trust account to kick-start a building fund, and a further $25,000 if Roy and 48 of his “many feel ill at ease” mates would individually do likewise by 1 January 2017 raising $2.5 million plus other donations towards the completion of the operation. The alternative is to reopen the breach and build an export logging port.

What’s it to be Mangawhai? I reserve the right to withdraw my offer if it is not met by the due date.

Noel Paget

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