A small section of beach between the base track at Mount Maunganui and Moturiki Island has been reopened to the public following the oil spill from the grounded ship Rena last week.

National On Scene Commander, Nick Quinn, said the decision was made after careful assessment of the beach and water sampling.

He said although it was only a small piece of coastline, the quick turnaround between the oiling last Thursday and the reopening today showed how effective the clean-up crews could be.

Mr Quinn said changing tides and weather conditions could still bring residual oil back to the open part of the beach.


He said people should report any oil they see but should not touch it.

Meanwhile, Maritime New Zealand has praising the Bay of Plenty community for its support in the clean-up.

Some 5000 volunteers were nvolved in various aspects of the clean-up, with more than 600 tonnes of oiled sandy waste recovered so far.

Papamoa residents are continuing the task of removing oil from their beloved beach today.

Progressive Association chairman Steve Morris said while the large black streaks of oil had gone, small traces were still left.

"There's going to be for some time hands and knees time, picking up small amounts of oil," said Mr Morris.

He said future clean-ups would depend on whether oil could be pumped off the Rena today.