Posted on June 15, 2022
The Mount Maunganui beach of today is unrecognisable when compared to photos from sixty years ago.
Coast Care Regional co-ordinator Russell Knutson said the difference between now and then is down to persistent and ongoing dune restoration and favourable weather conditions during the establishment phase of these restorations.
Photos from the 1960s show a drastically different beach with no rich dune habitat and steep banks down to the water.
Erosion in the 1980s. Photo / Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Knutson said when dune rejuvenation began in earnest in 1995, erosion had resulted in 2m high banks above the beach which people had to climb down to reach the water.
“There wasn’t a wide enough band of sand to plant on until 1999 but once that was done our native dune plants trapped and stabilised sand to create a new dune area more than 30 metres wide today.
“These photos are just such a great example of how important dune restoration and caring for our dunes is.”
1960s photo of Mount Maunganui main beach.
Not only do dunes provide a beach for people they are also important ecosystems that provide a home for many native plants, insects and animals.
In addition, dunes are coastal communities’ first defence against extreme weather events as they absorb and disperse much of the wave energy created by these storms.
Knutson said the dunes at Mount Maunganui already faced erosion due to many environmental factors in the area so it was important that people didn’t exacerbate that trend by trampling the dunes and instead kept to the official beach pathways.
Dunes at Mount Maunganui main beach today. Photo / Bay of Plenty Regional Council
“Coastal rejuvenation has got us to this really sweet point where we have a beautiful beach, one of the most popular in New Zealand.
“If we want to keep it that way and not return to how it was, we need to care for our dunes.
“We’re very grateful to all our volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to achieve results like this without them.”
Mount Maunganui main beach today. Photo / Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Coast Care is a coastal restoration programme that works with local communities, local authorities, care groups and schools. It aims to restore and protect the sand dunes along Bay of Plenty beaches.
This month a number of dune planting events are being held across the region’s beaches. Anyone interested in getting involved can visit the Coast Care Bay of Plenty Facebook page – facebook.com/CoastCareBayofPlenty – for dates and times.