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Published: 2003-02-24 00:00:00

The natural history of Coromandel beaches will be explored in an Environment Waikato presentation next month to celebrate Seaweek.

The presentation will be held on Monday, March 10 in the Thames Coromandel District Council area office at Whangamata. Supper will be provided and all participants will receive a complimentary coastal gift. The free event is part of the eight-day Seaweek celebrations, which run from March 9 – 16 throughout New Zealand.

Other events include a fishing day for kids, book displays and school field trips.

Seaweek is an annual event for various organisations and groups to organise activities to celebrate New Zealand’s marine and coastal environment.

Coastal dune vegetation is an important part of New Zealand’s coastal biodiversity. At the presentation Environment Waikato’s Beachcare staff will explain how the Coromandel beaches formed and the importance of dune vegetation.

Beachcare Facilitator Harley Spence says coastal dunes and vegetation are part of the natural character of the coast, and dune vegetation protects dunes from erosion as well as providing a natural buffer to protect property from coastal hazards.

“Sand binders grow on the seaward face of frontal dunes and are critical in dune building and repair. These specialised plants – such as spinifex, pingao and sand convolvulus - are adapted to grow in this harsh environment. They slow down the wind near the ground so that sand can be left behind to build up the dune.

“Once, coastal dunes in the Waikato were densely covered in plants, from sand grasses to native shrubs and trees. However, over the last 55 years about 70 percent of these plants have been damaged by fire, cattle grazing, vehicles, pedestrian trampling, subdivision and development, forestry and sand mining.

He says protecting and enhancing dunes is critical to the future of Waikato beaches.
Places at the presentation can be booked through Environment Waikato's Freephone 0800 800 401.

You can learn more about our marine environment and find out what’s happening for Seaweek throughout New Zealand by visiting the Seaweek website,