A small group of Far Northerners have launched another bid to encourage people to treat 90 Mile Beach with respect, and this time they've adopted some very modern technology.

Laurie Austen, his daughter Gemma and Kaio Hooper are behind the design of a 'We Love our Beach' smartphone-scannable QR code that will take users directly to the website www.enjoydontdestroy.co.nz (which can also be accessed in the traditional way), which has been printed on bumper stickers and other material.

The site includes tips on driving on the beach responsibly, some history, information about the local wildlife and some relevant media statements.

The initiative, which has strong local support (including from the 90 Mile Beach Surfcasting Club), will be promoted at public access points to the beach.


Mr Hooper said it was very much in everyone's interests that the message be heard.

"The very Far North has always enjoyed a fair degree of isolation. That isolation is over," he said.

"It is imperative that we move to protect the things that we value that have survived due to that isolation. Hopefully education can succeed before legislation is required. This is the purpose of this site."

QR codes, which were very widely used overseas, were small and unobtrusive, but had the potential to inform beach users on a grand scale.

The major concerns, Mr Hooper added, included the impact of vehicles on shellfish.

"Every toheroa and every tuatua begins its life as a minute juvenile in the upper tidal area of the beach, where they are at their most vulnerable to damage from vehicles," he said.

"Vehicles driven in straight lines appear to do limited damage to these shellfish, but rapid accelerating, heavy braking, doing wheelies and donuts kill thousands, possibly millions. This damage is plain to see for anyone who cares to look.

"We have quotas on gathering shellfish to sustain species, but a thoughtless driver/rider can kill several lifetimes of entitlement in a few minutes."


Dune erosion was another "very real and accelerating situation" that was hugely exacerbated by vehicles, while historic middens, "a view into our past," had in places been reduced to dust, and nesting birds lived under constant threat from vehicles intruding into their areas.

"No locals want to see the situation that has occurred in other areas, where access is banned or by permit only, so they should endeavour to lead the way in educating others on non-damaging beach use," he added.