The importance of our sand dunes are not readily apparent to the eyes, but the figures tell the story.

Sand dune ecosystems occupy about 1100km of the New Zealand coastline and an estimated 90 per cent of New Zealanders live within 50km of the coast.

This week a group of Tahatai Coast school kids braved winter temperatures to help a replanting programme in Papamoa and Mount Maunganui.

"Coast Care has for the last three years been successful in planting more than 80,000 plants," programme manager Paul Greenshields said.

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The students planted two species most commonly found in the area - pingao and spinifex.

Greenshields said part of the initiative was to educate young people on the importance of the dune system.

"It's important because they are the next generation.

"The eco-systems [the dunes] support here are massive. We wouldn't have our roads. We wouldn't be able to live so near the beach if we didn't have a healthy dune system."

Coast Care was a partnership between five coastal district and city councils and the Department of Conservation.

Over the past 25 years, volunteers and schoolchildren have helped to plant more than a million native plants along the New Zealand coastline.

For more information on the Coast Care and how to support its efforts, go here.

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