The AGM of the Karekare Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Trust was held on 28 April 2017. There was a good turn out of members and friends and following the Chair’s report and the financial report, a new committee was elected comprising of:
Chair: John Edgar
Committee: David Munro, Kerrie Littlewood, Alistair Martin, Mandy Patmore, Ted Scott, Jenny Taylor, Angela Turbott.
We were sorry that Matthew Grove stood down from the committee this year. Matthew has been on the committee for many years and was chair for six years, and we thank him for his life-long commitment to Karekare. Thank you also to Alistair Martin for all the work he has done on behalf of Landcare over many years. Alistair and Dianne are leaving Karekare to move to the Kaipara and we wish them well. Alistair was voted in at the AGM, and then stood down once it was certain he was leaving Karekare.
Chair’s Report, Karekare Ratepayers and Residents Trust Annual General Meeting
The Trust was incorporated 35 years ago in 1982. Over the years it has successfully advocated to keep the environment of Karekare as natural as possible, given that people live and work here and thousands of visitors come every year to enjoy this special place.
The sand accretion on the beach continues. This is a natural process that has been going on for many years and the build up of sand has blocked the stream and formed a large lagoon. In October last year, heavy rain caused the stream to break through and exit straight to the sea from the base of the Watchman, which lowered the level of the lagoon and made beach access easier for both the surf club and the public.
Auckland Council publically notified the beach access boardwalk consent application last September. We understand that all parties have agreed on the consent conditions and that a hearing will not be necessary. Removing the temporary sand causeway and building the new boardwalk will begin later this year.
The old surf club will be demolished 2017-18 and the new clubhouse built 2019- 20. The Trust wrote a letter to support the club’s funding applications on the understanding that the new facilities will be available for community use. We wish the surf club all the best for this major development.
I meet regularly with Stephen Bell, the principal ranger at Arataki and we discuss issues relating to Karekare and the ranges. Alistair Martin or I also attend quarterly meetings of the combined ratepayers and resident groups in the ranges chaired by Kubi Witten-Hannah which is an opportunity to discuss matters of concern for the ranges communities.
The Trust has been in discussion with Auckland Transport about the
pohutukawa tree overhanging the cutting. They proposed an over-engineered design to prop the tree up which we questioned, and to date all that has happened is that there are signs top and bottom of the cutting stating a vehicle height restriction of 3 meters which did not stop a large bus get jammed under the tree last month.
Increased visitor numbers have been a problem over the summer. While it is great to see people enjoying the beach, the car parks have been filled and the roads blocked on quite a few occasions. Anzac day was the worst congestion I have ever seen. This will be an ongoing problem in years to come, and it is not helped by media promoting Karekare as a destination.
Pollution of the streams and the lagoons at Karekare, Piha and Bethells is being looked into by Council, and Eco Matters Trust have been conducting free septic tanks inspections. The sources of pollution come from humans, dogs and ducks. Council subsidies available for the upgrading of septic tanks in the catchments where pollution is a problem have recently been doubled to $5000
and many households have taken up the offer.
Kauri in the ranges are infected with the pathogen Phytophthora agathidicida and there is no known cure. Auckland Council’s Biosecurity team is tracking expansion of kauri dieback using methods such as aerial surveying and ground- truthing. This is undertaken on a 5-year cycle with the last cycle completed in
2016. The results of this survey have provided the first opportunity to identify ‘rate of spread’ and have reaffirmed that the disease is a widespread biosecurity issue in the ranges. Comparison of Kauri health survey data between 2011 and 2016 shows the distribution of kauri dieback has risen from 8% to 19%. The Waitakere Ranges represent the most heavily infected area in New Zealand.
Beach Race day was well attended on the 8th April and the weather was fine after the previous week of very heavy rain. $12,750 was raised for the school and the surf club and we congratulate the organisers and the many volunteers who made the day a great success.
The Karekare Billboard has been compiled and edited by Julia Moore and Caroline Grove and is circulated digitally. Our new website is active and is maintained by Matthew Grove. These are both important ways of communicating with the community.
The Landcare Group held a working bee in October and successfully removed the jasmin infestation from the side of Lone Kauri Road outside Alex Witten- Hannah’s home. Our Landcare Group was runner up at the Eco Awards.
The committee meets on the first Wednesday of the month. The meetings receive and discuss a number of reports from the various groups at Karekare.
We thank the outgoing committee for their contributions over the past year, especially our secretary Jenny Taylor, treasurer Angela Turbott, and Alastair Martin and Caroline Grove who have kept up the war on weeds and pests. We are sorry to report that Matthew Grove is standing down from the committee. Matthew has been on the committee for many years and was chair for six years, and we thank him for his life-long commitment to Karekare.
The Karekare Ratepayers and Residents Trust thank members and friends for their support over the past year. I move that the Chair’s report be received.
John Edgar ONZM
KKRRT – Surf Club Report – 28 April 2017
sand carriageway solution so will require additional funding to that originally budgeted. Hopefully that will not be a problem now that we have such a widely supported and environmentally robust solution.
With the situation described regarding funding and access the fastest that the project will proceed now is for demolition of the old club over 17/18 followed by construction of the new facility in 18/19.
David Munro, Chair KKSLC
28 April 2017
Neighbourhood Support Group
The email network for NSG works very well and I have 90 households listed on the network. People report incidents to me and I email them out in the hope that someone else might have seen something. Neighbourhood Support Waitakere and the police are also copied into the emails. In the past year there have been a number incidents, ranging from break-ins, burglaries, theft from cars in the car park to strangers driving onto properties saying that they are looking for someone and leaving when they are approached. These might be innocent mistakes, but could be people casing properties. Being aware of these incidents and remaining vigilant makes our community safer.
John Edgar 8128555
Lone Kauri School Trust Report
The school year started with 21 students, comprising of 5 girls and 16 boys. Meredith Blackman and Viv Mulgrew continue to teach the students, with Carlene Armitage, and Alia Bland as support staff.
The students have been studying Endemic Birds during the first term and have participated and contributed to an interactive exhibition at Te Uru. The exhibition titled O Tu Kapua (What Clouds See) is a quest through the Waitakere Ranges to see the impact we have on our environment.
The western boundary fence and gates are in need of replacement, quotes have been submitted and we are awaiting conformation of the contractor and the dates for this.
This term the children are studying Antarctica.
Cross Country is set for the 3 rd May, and school camp for years 5 and 6 at Camp Bentzon on Kawau Island from 24 – 26 May.
The Year 5 and 6 children enjoyed a wonderful 3 days on Kawau Island for School Camp, where they experienced archery, sailing, wharf jumping, orienteering, raftbuilding and a host of other activities.
Karekare Landcare report to the KKRRT AGM 2017
Karekare Landcare is a group of local people involved in environmental projects, removing some plant and animal pests and educating residents of Karekare about the importance of maintaining bio-diversity. Our aim is to enable the amazing
regeneration of native forest that is happening, or trying to happen, all around us and to allow birds and other native fauna to survive and breed successfully. We are grateful to KKRRT for their support.
Since the last AGM we have had two weeding days, firstly in April 2016, then February 2017. On 23 April we had a second session in the valley tidying up the area previously cleared of Cape Ivy and met new neighbours across the road from this area, Jim and Robyn, who have very kindly taken on some responsibility for keeping
this area weed free. Then on Feb 4th this year we had a good group assemble to attack the jasmine and other nasties growing on the roadside at 199 Lone Kauri Road outside Alex Witten-Hannah’s. We filled a weed bin, cleared the roadside area of weeds and even managed to work back into some of Alex’s property where the jasmine was heading in all directions. It is satisfying to get a group working together to make a big hit on a bad patch like this – we are open to suggestions for our next sortie. It is a great way of making a difference without the use of herbicides. However, this just showed how many friends and helpers you need to make any impact without the help of modern science.
There has been a significant effort made by a Landcare member combating ginger on private property in the Nixon’s road area over the last year using herbicide, employing a cut and swab approach. Further work has taken place controlling the spread of pampas grass on the Lone Kauri Road reserve. There has been continuing control carried out on tradescantia, agapanthus and pampas on the road reserve in the Karekare valley. As Jack Craw spoke about in his Strategic Weed Management Plan from 2015 it is the weeds on private properties and road reserves that are the major threats to bio-diversity in Karekare.
Predator control – rats and possums: A group of local residents continue to set bait stations on a regular basis and this seems to be keeping the possums and rats at a low level. Thanks to David Sidwell who did a great job cleaning and repairing a number of old stoat trap boxes and thanks to Council for supplying shiny new traps to replace the old rusty ones. These have been shared around to people willing to regularly set and
monitor them. If there is anyone else interested in taking responsibility for some please let me know, as there are still a few available.
Also, Peter King, maintains his predator control network in the La Trobe area and continues to advise and inspire the rest of us. The dream is to create a predator free area here in Karekare which will attract a few kokako over from the Ark in the Park!! I would like you all to acknowledge and applaud the continuing good work done by
those involved in pest (plant and animal) management for the sake of the native birds and the bush. Anyone else willing to get involved would be very welcome to join us. We can always enlarge our network of bait stations, but there are also possibly a couple of
lines not being regularly filled at the moment. It is a great way to see new areas of bush and extremely satisfying to feel that you are taking responsibility for your area.
Wasps : Alistair Martin, a KKRRT committee member, volunteered to be trained in the use of Vespex and is now an approved user. For a second season there has been a bait line laid very recently along Lone Kauri Road from the upper car park on Lone
Kauri (opposite the Groves) through to the Farm Road entrance. This area was selected because of significant presence of wasps and the convenience of seeking permission from only two land owners. Last season’s baiting was, anecdotally, fairly successful in reducing wasp numbers but this will need regular seasonal follow ups
with an expansion of the operating area to maintain a significant impact.
Waitakere Ranges Conservation Network: Alistair and Caroline both attended a very good seminar/workshop at Arataki. There were a number of talks about the latest technological developments in predator control. Part of what I wrote for billboard soon after… “It was an inspiring day with many interesting speakers. James Russell
gave us hope that we might make the Waitakere Ranges predator-free and, even, that the goal of Predator Free NZ 2050 is more than aspirational. With advances in technology it may well be possible. Pest predators were defined as any animal which causes damage to populations of native biota.”;
The network continues to circulate useful information and is planning another workshop soon.
Caroline Grove and Alistair Martin
The shellfish ban and rahui that we established in 1993 have now been in place for 24 years. Shellfish surveys that we use to do annually are no longer done as the south rocks have completely disappeared under sand, and the north rocks have never recovered from the human predation.
There has been an increase in the population of red rock crabs on the north rocks, but mussel numbers are low. Even mussel rock has been buried by sand. I check for signs of change during the year, and I hope one day to see a recovery in shellfish numbers. I have had very few reports over the past year of people taking shellfish, and I presume that they have gone to other beaches where shellfish are more plentiful.
Karekare Volunteer Rural Fire Force Report
In operational terms, so far in 2017, we have been called to 8 incidents including asignificant scrub fire at the end of Log Race Road and several small rubbish fires at the side of the road that could have been quite dangerous as both fires contained
small butane gas canisters that exploded as the fires took hold.
However, rather than concentrate on what we as a brigade have had in the way of incidents this year I thought it may be more relevant to provide some information on what from July 2017 will be a major change to the basis of fire fighting in NZ.
For many years fire fighting has been carried out in urban centres by the NZ Fire Service and in rural districts by Rural Fire Forces with both organisations set up and operating under different legislation.
On 1 July 2017, New Zealand’s urban, rural, paid and volunteer fire services will be combined into a single organisation in the biggest fire service reform in 70 years. Rural Fire Forces represent the first line of defence in responding to not only vegetation fires but structure fires and other emergencies both within the local
community and on occasions inside and outside the wider Auckland provincial area.
At present Rural Fire Forces are governed by the Local Rural Fire Authority, in our case Auckland Council, and are tightly connected to the NZ Fire Service through formal operating agreements and procedures. Rural Fire operates under the Forest and Rural Fires Act and the NZ Fire Service under the Fire Service Act. The major
change about to take place from July this year will see legislative reform setting up a completely new emergency services organisation, Fire & Emergency NZ (FENZ).
Currently Rural Fire Forces:
- Provide emergency response for homes and businesses on private and public land;
- Suppress structural and vegetation fires;
- Provide critical support to other emergency services including police and ambulance;
- Respond to all types of emergencies including motor vehicle accidents, emergency medical calls, hazardous material spills and other incidents.
Certainly short term, existing Rural Fire Forces will continue to provide these responses as will existing Fire Service brigades.
Under the Forest ; Rural Fires Act there was little legislative basis for a Rural Fire Force to attend any incident other than a fire in a rural area and even the Fire Service Act was somewhat lacking in covering non-fire incidents. This will all change with the introduction of the new legislation and perhaps more importantly there will be a better and more equitable funding arrangement put in place to ensure FENZ is adequately and more efficiently funded.
Initially there will be no major operational changes when FENZ comes into being in July. If an incident occurs requiring a Fire Brigade response you will still dial 111 to request assistance and a red truck will be on the way. The focus will be on ensuring
core services continue with minimal disruption. At this stage however, it is too early to say what effect the new arrangements will eventually have in respect of the Karekare Fire Force although in the short term there will be little if any apparent change. Over the next 3 years, urban and rural fire services will gradually integrate
and full unification is expected from 2020.There may be some rationalisation of existing brigades but this may not take place for some time.
While as a Rural Fire Force, our brigade is better resourced and better trained than a lot of rural brigades outside Auckland, it may be that we will need to revert to a more First Response unit concentrating on vegetation fires. One of the major factors that
could see this come about is the fall off in crew numbers in our brigade. I mentioned this last year and nothing has really changed except that those of us in the brigade are a year older and we still don’t have any younger people coming through. Moving
to a general First Response unit may enable us to attract more personnel if there is a lighter training load involved.
It is fair to say we are in some danger of becoming inoperative because of the low number of trained crew. While we continue to have sufficient numbers to adequately man the appliance if everyone is available, from time to time we are struggling to put
together a crew and there are, for example, some issues relating to qualified BA wearers which we are currently addressing.
Due to the major changes that may occur following the amalgamation of Fire Service and Rural Fire it is difficult to make a call on where we go in the future, but I think with the low number of incidents we are being called to, together with our low crew
numbers and lack of younger people coming through, the option of reverting to a real first response unit with a major focus on vegetation fires and indirect attack on any local structure fires may well be the most logical direction to follow. This coupled with
other responding appliances from Piha, Waiatarua and Henderson will still provide the local Karekare community with an appropriate level of protection.