Pauanui Beachcare Group

Pauanui Beachcare Group

Open in Google Maps

Pauanui Beachcare Group

During the 1967 Pauanui subdivision, the original natural dune system was bulldozed and replaced with a grass reserve for the new residents. Unfortunately, this action disrupted the natural functioning of the dune system, and a series of intense storm events in 2020 and 2021 caused significant erosion, especially at the southern end of the beach, leaving no active spinifex and impacting the grass reserve.

The Pauanui community has consistently supported Thames-Coromandel District Council planting initiatives aimed at restoring the dunes following previous erosion episodes. In 2021, these initiatives were stepped up based on scientific analysis. The new plan aims to widen restored dunes significantly, allowing for improved resilience against future erosion and facilitating self-repair through increased native plant coverage.

This wider restoration approach, involving up to 10 metres of the grass reserve, required substantial community consultation. As a result, a concerned group of residents established the Pauanui Dune Protection Society to work with TCDC to restore and maintain the dunes while working alongside other stakeholders. The first major dune restoration and planting event was held in 2022. It was one of New Zealand’s largest single restoration events, and the project won the 2023 national Coastal Restoration Award. A community outreach programme has also been set up to educate the Pauanui community about dune restoration efforts, volunteering and financial support.

Challenges have included cultivating community understanding about the significance of a naturally functioning dune system, restoring areas of dunes inundated with weeds, funding support, storms in 2023 taking away about 10 per cent of the restoration plants and leaving steep cliff faces, and fewer volunteers atending working bees due to the closure of State Highway 25A.

2023 restoration and planting season wrap-up

Restoration efforts continued in 2023 with another 270 metres of dune reshaped and planted with 11,000 plants over two days. The Pauanui Dune Protection Society, which holds regular working/weeding bees throughout the year, has kept weed numbers low in restored areas, even though the closure of SH25A resulted in reduced turnout at some events.

  • 270 metres of dune area bulldozed to restore dune and for replanting.
  • 4 Coastcare planting events - 12,595 plants, 105 volunteers; 420 volunteer hours.

Looking ahead

  • 220 metres of southern dune restoration to be completed in May 2024.

Contact: Waikato Regional Council

Phone: 0800 800 401

Email: [Enable JavaScript to view protected content]

For questions relating to government policy or the coastal management plan contact [Enable JavaScript to view protected content]