In one big blow in July sand advanced 30m toward the playground and access road at Turakina Beach, says Rangitikei District Council parks manager Athol Sanson.


Residents of coastal Koitiata village had already been worried the playground and road might be swallowed up by advancing dunes and sought council help.


If the sand isn't stopped prevailing winds could move the dunes on to houses next.

The council decided the problem needed fixing and set aside $10,000 to tackle it over the next few years.

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So far a combined effort by the council and residents is keeping the sand in place.
Mr Sanson got advice from a Conservation Department expert. Council staff and residents collected seed from native sand-binding plants in early March.

Six species were collected, including a native convolvulus, spinifex and pingao. They are now being grown in nurseries, ready for planting next year.

In the meantime some non-native marram grass has been planted. It wasn't ideal, Mr Sanson said, and would be removed when the native plants were established.

Council and residents have also spread hay and 400cu m of post peelings over the sand. The mulch is held down by driftwood, shifted at times when native katipo and nesting dotterel would not be disturbed.

It seemed to help, but when fresh sand movement happened the council added fences made with waratahs and windcloth. They're also temporary, but are trapping windblown sand.

Mr Sanson said other measures would be taken, as needed. He's thrilled with the help of Koitiata residents.

"They're such a great bunch of blokes out there."

The mouth of the Turakina River has moved often over years. It pushed through to the sea closer to Whangaehu in the June floods last year.

The coast changes frequently too. In recent years dunes have blown inland, giving some Koitiata residents new sea views. One possible reason for the sand advance is floods.

They add sediment to the coastline, which is then broken down and blown inland.