Local families and supporters of the dunes at Waihi Beach planted 1400 spinifex and pingoa in one of the five dune areas cordoned off at the North End of Waihi Beach on Sunday.

Within two hours the plants were all in by young and old, families of Waihi Beach area, and some from nearby towns. One keen man had recently had a hip operation and he too was "on the job to do his bit for the community".

Waihi Beach dunes have had much community discussion since the workshop with Gregg Jenks, coastal restoration specialist at Coastal Management Systems from University of Lincoln in February.

He described the unhealthy status of these dunes and it has been all hands on deck since then.


Coast Care Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Chris Ward and Mike Bonner were there implementing a plan to recreate new and stronger dunes in liaison with community leader of dunes Jim Cowern and the local volunteer groups.

The Coast Care dune restoration programme has grown to control the persistent grass weeds that are smothering and killing the native dune building plants.

On Monday last week a digger scraped the grass weed layer off, dug a hole putting the clean sand to one side, placed the weeds in the bottom of the hole and spread the clean sand back across the top ready for the new plants.

Many people came down to see what was going on, and were able to read the sign which explained what is happening.

With these plants now in a much closer emphasis will be on a weed management control, by the community and Western Bay of Plenty Parks and Reserves maintenance programmes.

If this results in a healthier and resilient dune system, then there are plans to do the same for other patches alongside in the future.