A threatened invasion of motorcyclists at dunes near Ahipara did not eventuate on Saturday - and they would have been out of luck if they had turned up.

Police were well prepared for any breach of the peace while locals erected a gate at the top of the road down to Te Kohanga/Shipwreck Bay on Friday and remained on duty there throughout Saturday.

Apart from a pair from Okaihau, complete with bikes, who the locals suspected were acting as scouts, they didn't have much to do, and the mood throughout the day remained cheerful but determined.

Read more: Police prepared for bikers' dune protest at Ahipara


It wasn't clear last week whether the "take back the dunes" protest, announced on social media in response to Te Rarawa's fencing off of some of the dunes west of Te Kohanga to protect them from further damage, would take place or not.

According to rumour it had been cancelled although police suspected that it had merely been taken off Facebook. More than 80 people had said they would take part and another 400-plus said they were interested before the post was deleted.

Meanwhile the gate was manned on Friday night, when a couple of camper vans were turned away, through to 1am on Saturday, but the road remained open to locals and anyone who wanted to go fishing, surfing or make use of the beach in any way that would not threaten the dunes.

The defenders of the dunes were back at 8am on Saturday and had little to do. There hadn't been a great deal of traffic but there had been a "lot of communicating", they said.

Senior Sergeant Russell Richards said extra police staff were on duty in Kaitaia and at Ahipara to talk to locals and out-of-towners arriving on bikes while traffic staff from Auckland north were monitoring the behaviour of riders heading Ahipara's way.

They were prepared to urge each side to "understand the other's concerns and have adult conversations about the reasons for the fencing".