Beach restoration work in full swing





Aramoana beach in Central Hawke’s Bay is home to a marine reserve that is much treasured by the surrounding community. Yet like much of the east coast, the hill country surrounding the beach is literally falling into the sea as a result of erosion, with a detrimental impact on Te Angiangi Marine Reserve and all the life it contains. That’s why Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, in partnership with the Aramoana Environmental and Education Charitable Trust (AEECT), has a planting and regeneration project on a significant section of land above the marine reserve between Aramoana and Blackhead. AEECT approached the regional council with the request to buy the 44ha of steep hill country land from the owners, the McHardys, with a vision of protecting the marine reserve from land erosion. Regional council senior catchment adviser and AAECT trustee Paul Train is leading the environmental restoration of the land. He says the main aim is to protect the marine reserve from sedimentation, stabilising the land by planting trees, allowing regeneration and creating a habitat of rich biodiversity for the community to enjoy. “The land suffers from significant erosion and all this sediment is going into the sea and the marine reserve. We want to stop this from happening, restore the land, and demonstrate the benefits of this project . . . ” When sediment goes into the sea it can smother insects and invertebrates and is a difficult environment for fish to survive. Te Angiangi is worth protecting — it is home to kingfishers, oystercatchers, pied stilts, godwits, white-fronted terns, Caspian terns, godwits, little blue penguins and more birds. At low tide, a mudstone platform is exposed, revealing beds of pink coralline seaweeds and patches of native sea grass. Recently, the regional council, trust and Omakere School planted 4400 native trees and plants, which were funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries One Billion Trees programme. The land has a steep gradient, so the trust used a drone to drop hundreds of flax seeds. The existing karaka and cabbage trees are regenerating, and so is the pasture. The trust is also partnering with Ngati Kere as the area has a rich Māori history with historical sites. Trust chairman Peter Kay says this year it will plant more than 5000 trees and shrubs. “We really appreciate the assistance of local volunteers and people like Allan Lee from the Department of Conservation, Marie Taylor and the Omakere community.”