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Published: 2003-02-20 00:00:00

Whiritoa’s Beachcare group has won a Best Community Group award at a national coastal conference in Dunedin.

The group has won a certificate and $250 of plant vouchers awarded by the Coastal Dune Vegetation Network at their annual conference. The award is sponsored by the Taupo Native Plant Nursery.

The group is a partnership between the Whiritoa community, the Hauraki District Council and Environment Waikato. Over the past 10 years it has constructed 11 accessways onto the beach, removed invasive exotic weeds such as Acacia sophare, pampas and boneseed and maintained the beach by re-establishing native sand-binding grasses on the front of the Whiritoa dune.

It has also produced two permanent interpretation signs telling the community and visitors about the Beachcare group and the importance of protecting the beach and dune environment.

The group holds regular working bees, often on weekends because a large number of the group’s members work or are non-resident ratepayers.

Last year it conducted a comprehensive community survey of all ratepayers and held public meetings to look at strategic directions for the next few years. As well as maintaining focus on restoration of dune vegetation, issues such as water quality of the lagoons and shade will now form the basis of the group’s activities for the next 10 years.