Horse riders have delivered a rallying cry against the Western Bay District Council's unpopular proposal to ban horses from Tuapiro Point.
They rode from Tauranga Racecourse to the council's offices at Barkes Corner to deliver a petition signed by nearly 2000 people, and to chant their opposition to the proposed change to the Reserves bylaw.
Eight horses and three ponies were ridden along the side of Cameron Rd, followed by a wheelbarrow to collect the poop.
The petition organisers were met by council policy planning and regulatory services manager Rachael Davie who congratulated the Recreational Horse Riders BOP group on an ''awesome'' effort.
''Clearly, there is a lot of passion around this,'' she said.
''Thank you for taking the time - we are delighted to receive it.''
Leading the procession down Cameron Rd was the group's spokeswoman Lisa Coulson and committee member Sonja Gordon.
Coulson said she was overwhelmed by the support for the recreational riders.
''We understand the environmental aspects of Tuapiro, but places like this should be shared with the community responsibly,'' she told the Bay of Plenty Times Weekend.
The petition was handed to Davie by Natarlya Zajec-Wigget from Whakamarama, a student of Montessori at Bellevue Primary School.
Claudia Gorringe from the Tauranga Western Riding Club then led an echo-styled group chant that began ''Tuapiro Point for all/horses riders big and small''.
The removal of Tuapiro Point as a permitted site for horse riding has galvanised recreational horse riders.
They said the change to the bylaw would leave them with no suitable safe alternative in the area to take their horses.
Many riders and other members of the community who enjoyed seeing horses at Tuapiro had submitted on the draft bylaw. Some will appear in person at the council hearing in Katikati on Monday.
The current bylaw identified where horses were allowed to go and required the removal of horse droppings to protect Tuapiro's significant cultural and ecological values.
The council had received more than 600 submissions to the draft bylaw, including petitions. Nearly everyone opposed the changes, and more than 100 indicated they wished to speak to their submission.
Davie said earlier this year that the council had decided to review the bylaw because of damage the horses were causing to the reserve at Tuapiro, north of Katikati.
Hapu reported horses riding through an area of pines and a wahi tapu site. Concerns had also been raised about the potential trampling effect on shellfish and the saltmarsh on the western side of the spit.
A public meeting in Katikati saw recreational riders complain that signage at Tuapiro Point and information about riding areas was confusing. Coulson said riders had misunderstood the permitted riding areas.
The council will decide on the draft bylaw on September 27.
Claudia Gorringe's rallying chant to oppose the horse ban
''Tuapiro Point for all/Horses riders big and small. We like our democracy/And our horses like the sea. Western Council we beseech/Keep our right to use the beach. Tuapiro is our dope/Western Council give us hope. From thoroughbreds to quarter horse/We want to keep our precious shores. Safest riding in the bay/The Tuapiro ride must stay. Only hoof prints and no noise/Tuapiro is our choice. Good for the environment/Ride a horse today my friend.