Coastcare groups are involved in caring for beaches around the region. They are partnerships between the local community, iwi, district councils and Waikato Regional Council, working together to protect and restore our precious coasts. There are currently community Coastcare groups working at 24 beaches on the east and west coasts of the Waikato region.
Check out our map to see where Coastcare groups in the Waikato region are located.
Many of us love spending time at the beach. During summer many of our region's coastal towns and beaches become crowded with visitors and holiday-makers. Unfortunately, as our beaches become more popular and coastal development increases, the natural character of many of our region's beaches degrades.
Coastcare groups are made up of people who care about a particular area of coastline. They work together to help protect and care for it.
Across the region volunteers spend up to 1500 hours planting over winter months, but also carry out a range of other work aimed at protecting coastlines, including:
monitoring beaches for changes or problems that may need their attention.
In 1992, Waikato Regional Council launched the first community group in 1993 at Whiritoa beach, followed a month later by Port Waikato.
We called it Beachcare.
Since that time, we’ve been working with district councils to provide administrative support and other resources – including plants, signage, technical advice and building materials – to Coastcare groups.
The focus of these community groups has evolved over time to include coastal wetlands, which is why it is now called Waikato Coastcare | Tiaki Takutai.
Dunes help to protect beaches from coastal erosion and sand inundation caused by a combination of massive storms and high tides.
Native dune plants trap wind-blown sand, building a natural buffer in the coastal margin and allowing the dunes to self-repair following big storm events.
Dunes also have important biodiversity benefits, providing a home for endangered insects, lizards and birds, which in turn help pollenate and fertilise the dune plants and spread native plant seeds across the landscape.
Pingao (Ficinia spiralis), an important but “in-decline” native dune plant, is also highly valued by Māori for weaving.
But the dunes are fragile. More than 75 per cent of our region’s beaches have been modified or destroyed by removal, grazing or trampling of native plants. That’s why the work of Coastcare volunteers is so important.
When dune plants are destroyed, dunes are lost.