Take the Whangamata Tour

Come with me, and lets wind our way through this maze of ugliness and greed.

They wish to Pave Paradise, and put up a parking lot.

This page is designed to introduce you, the public, to the concerns of Locals – Tangata Whenua~Maori, and Surfers, on the imposition of a Marina in what was once an unexploited pristine estuary

Councillors – who needs them?

one that shall remain unnamed for now, owned a trucking business in the sixties and Seventies. This councillor was made well aware of the impact of logging on the Whangamata estuary, by accelerated sediment run off due to the logging that his trucks were transporting. Conscious of this fact, he kept on trucking…

This is how business is done in New Zealand. That is why we have little corruption in this Country. It is simply legalised by the actions of those elected onto our Councils. If in doubt, get elected, and then rubber stamp it.


The Mangroves are recognised by the dark green imprint on the spit, Southside of the causeway that was built in 1976, which disrupted the natural flow of the channel. This has been a major contributor to the expansion of the mangrove complimented by the leaking sewerage pond and deforestation of the surrounding waterways leading to sediment run off.

Mangrove growth has actually helped bind up the leaking sewerage from the aeration Pond in the top left hand corner of this pic opposite.

Charging in to hack down the Mangroves, is futile, and only exposes and unbinds the polluted sediments. Since Simon Friar and his merry band (including National Mp Sandra Goudie) trampled through the delicate mitigated area and hacked down the mangroves, the stench wafting across town has been noticeable, to say the least.

What should be done for the town is to build a 100% secure wastewater system, and replant the surrounding waterway landscapes with native plants wherever possible, to trap sediments, before they enter the waterways and Estuary.

On top of this, catchment’s filters should be attached to drains throughout the township. This will still take many decades to recover the golden sands; Right now they are a vital sink for all that smelly stuff from that leaking pond. This approach would cost, but if redneck Simon Friar (and stalwart marina supporter) wants his golden beaches back, then front up with the cash. You certainly won’t get them back by hacking down mangroves and trampling over this delicate ecosystem in the process.

The Salt Marsh (outlined in red)

Over the years this gaggle of property Speculators has infiltrated the council to such an extent that the Marina Society and the Thames Coromandel District Council are almost indistinguishable.This Salt Marsh requires its own page, Click here

This land use to owned by the Aickin Family. In1979 Council writes up a sales agreement with the Aickin Trust (represented by law firm and estate executors Harkness Henry &Co.) to buy the land. by 1985 Council owns the Salt Marsh, and proceeds to dump dredgings from the harbour (outlined in green)

The Kaimoana (shellfish beds)

the kaimoana beds will be dissected with a rock walled channel, limiting the ability of the shellfish to migrate with storm, tide, and season, across the delta, these beds fluctuate to conditions. Cutting this channel will be like a stake through its heart. I am surprised to find many Maori across Aotearoa to hold these beds in such high reverence as a bountiful natural food source. The continual degradation of natural food sources such as these beds in Whangamata should concern us all, not just Maori.

click here for more

During the Environment Court hearings, the Marina Society brought forward a handful of local supporters, who testified that they had hardly ever seen any Maori, or anyone else for that matter, picking kai from these beds. Such is the way of courts, they simply act on evidence provided, and how big is your Cheque book?

And all this for a lousy 205 new berths? No, this is not about some local boaties, wanting to park their boat, it is all about a whole heap of property development and speculation, at the expense of a unique wetland, kaimoana beds and possible destruction of the Whangamata bar, I say possible, because there have been no studies or modelling done of the effects of dredging in the harbour or the channel on the bar. This flies in the face the precautionary principle of the RMA

The World Famous Whangamata Bar

The delicate terminal Lobe, this feature depicted in the diagram produces what legendry Hawaiian surfer Gerry Lopez calls “The Gem of the South Pacific” The World famous Whangamata Bar.

Fresh water is lighter than saltwater, so every time a surfer ducks his head under a wave on the bar, the sewerage is sitting on the surface; it is like ducking your head in a full toilet bowl.

These three pictures above, really demonstrate the squeeze placed on surfers and boaties.

The surfers on a big swell have no other option than to use the channel to access the bar. Surfing New Zealand’s President Bruce Scott’s business partner John Whittle, did his best to legislate surfers out of the channel, thanks Paul for standing tall, and resisting this.

Once the Marina goes in, The council will be obliged to dredge the main channel, to allow 24-7 access through all tidal and swell conditions for boats up to, and in excess of 20 meters in length, this one fact is awkwardly brushed aside by the Marina Society /Local Council (TCDC). Dredging costs were predicted before the fuel hikes at an estimated cost of $60 per Cu meter, 167,000 Cu meters are to be dredged initially, and between 6 and seven thousand Cu meters every year after that.

However, the Council will be responsible (at a cost to the ratepayer) for dredging the main channel, there has been no estimates, scientific or otherwise on how The Marina basin will impact on sedimentation or currents in the main channel.

Photo courtesy of Angela Plimmer

This Pic above and diagram below shows the linear bar, at optimum conditions (low tide) surfers use the linear bar (out of water on low tide, bright white sand) to walk onto, and then paddle out using the rip /tide to take them out to the take off point marked with an X two pics above.

The really odd thing about all this, no other scientist disputes Angela Plimmers baseline Study on the Whangamata Harbour. Only one person disputes her findings.

The President of the Marina Society, Mick Kelly.

As far as I am aware, Mr Kelly has no expertise in Estuarine Hydrology. He is simply a business man. Now why would he find her work so objectionable?

After a few years, I predict the Marina Society will quietly dissolve, leaving Berth holders and Council to negotiate ever increasing Dredging costs. The property Speculators behind the Marina Society however, will quietly walk away with all their land dealing profits.

So long, thanks for all the fish.


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