K News for Kuaotunu Residents
Last Update 4 April 2019
4 April 2019


Matarangi: 10.30am for assembly at the corner of Cordyline Crescent and Ake Ake Ave to form up and march o. at 10.40am, followed by an 11am service at Matarangi Volunteer Rural Fire Force Station, near Matarangi Shopping Centre.

Returned service personnel are asked to wear their medals and decorations.

Descendants of returned service personnel are welcome to participate in the parades and are asked to wear medals on the right upper portion of their apparel.

Kuaotunu Library

We are pleased to announce that the Kuaotunu Library is up and running and we have well over 120 families enjoying this fabulous new facility.

Over the next Easter weekend -20th and 21st of April- we shall be selling an interesting variety of surplus books outside the Library.

In appreciation of all the people who are supporting us in so many different ways. Thanks again.

Marguerite Muellers

Mob: 0210686687

27 March 2019

First surviving Kuaotunu Bird Rescue bittern to be released into the wild (Thanks to The Informer, Mercury Bay)

Pictured: The bittern in the care of Annemieke Kregting and her team at Kuaotunu Bird Rescue.

A bittern that is at the moment being looked after by Annemieke Kregting and her team at Kuaotunu Bird Rescue will soon be banded and released back into the wild.

Bitterns are rarely seen. This is due to their secretive behaviour, inconspicuous plumage and the inaccessibility of their habitat. Their presence is most commonly discerned through hearing the distinctive “booming” call of the males during breeding season. Bitterns occasionally show themselves in the open along wetland edges, drains and flooded paddocks or roadsides, often adopting their infamous “freeze” stance, with the bill pointing skyward.

The Australasian bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), also known as the brown bittern or matuku hūrepo, is a large bird in the heron family Ardeidae. Australasian bitterns are endangered in both Australia and New Zealand. The principal cause of the birds’ past and ongoing decline is thought to be wetland drainage and degradation.

The bittern in the care of Kuaotunu Bird Rescue was found on 10 March in the vicinity of the old timber mill in Tairua. Kuaotunu local Ella Kington saw the bird staggering on the roadside on her way home and bravely picked it up with a jacket (brave as bitterns can bite with the speed of a speargun).

“Ella brought the bittern straight here and I found it be in very poor condition and very underweight,” says Annemieke. “Fluids was administered and the bird was placed on a heat pad. 
The next day I took it to Whitianga vets. Dave Thurgood, one of the vets, gave it an anaesthetic so we could take blood tests and x-rays. I was a wee bit suspicious about toxins because of the old mill and what maybe lying around there. 

“We found nothing on the x-rays and the next day the blood results were clear as well.” 

Annemieke continued to provide the bird with fluids twice daily. She also made up liquid food out of sardines, other high protein ingredients and electrolytes, which was given to the bittern through a crop tube. It was a careful and delicate procedure twice daily to feed the extremely stressed bird. After a few days, Annemieke and her team started feeding the bird little fish one by one. It responded well and ate more and more each day.

“After a week, the bittern was eating by itself and I moved it into an aviary, says Annnemieke. “It was picking fish out of a big trough that was refilled several times a day. 

“I contacted a bittern conservation group and was advised to release the bird back to the Tairua wetlands. The Department of Conservation was also notified because of its endangered status.”

DOC will release the bird in Tairua once its desirable weight is reached. This is the fourth bittern that has been taken to Kuaotunu Bird Rescue, but the first one to survive. 

Bittern numbers in New Zealand declined greatly following the destruction of 90 per cent of their wetland habitat to create farmland and towns. Ongoing habitat loss is still considered one of their greatest threats, although predators, poor water quality and reduced food availability may have contributed to population declines. Recent radio-tracking studies have suggested that winter starvation many be contributing to population declines. Nest success and chick/female survival is also suspected to be particularly low.

1st July 2018
Thanks to Editor Liam Kedzlie "The Matarangi Beach Paper"
Formally established in 2008 KEA was set up by Iwi representatives and landowners as part of an ongoing effort to eradicate stoats and manage predator control that began in the 1990s to save Kiwi and to support the Kuaotunu Kiwi Sanctuary, now known as Project Kiwi. 
In 2017 KEA was restructured and given a major boost with support from Waikato Regional Council to upgrade, re-establish and extend the Predator Control Buffer Zone between Wharekaho and Kuaotunu. Several new trap lines were established in the Blue Fridge Valley and on the Black Jack with others already mapped out to be installed. Another new project aims to form a link between the Rings Beach Wetland project and the Blue Fridge Valley. The first stage of trap lines will go across private land, along Petone Stream, up Peebles Lane and over to Blue Fridge Valley. In recent years the number of rare native birds in the area has been increasing. Fernbirds are thriving in the Rings Beach Reserve, Kiwi numbers are on the increase and are spilling out of their core area into surrounding properties. 
We hope that by creating a safe corridor for Kiwi and other native birds we can further increase the chances for survival as well as reducing migrating predators entering the peninsula from the west. Trapping and monitoring is primarily done by landowners and volunteers. One of the known outcomes of monitoring and maintenance of trap lines by landowners is the personal satisfaction in improving the biodiversity of their own property, this leads to a longer term approach to predator control. Beyond this, with the support of local groups such as KEA there is a backup and support mechanism in place to ensure lines are well maintained and all catches are recorded and reported back. Anyone interested in volunteering please contact Chris Twemlow – twemlows@gmail.com 

Featured: First Rongoa planting day at the Kuaotunu Community Food Forest, Queens Birthday weekend.
1st April 2018


It has been a busy summer period so far with plenty of good sized fish being caught around the Coromandel. It is still disappointing that Ministry for Primary Industries Fisheries Officers are still catching people with undersized and excess snapper.

A fisherman from Whangamata tried to tell officers that he still takes snapper at 27cm and who was going to tell him couldn’t! He was given an infringement notice of $250 to remind himself that the rules have now changed to a minimum size of 30cm.

Fisheries Officers have also been actively policing the shellfish gathering areas on the Thames Coast. We had a report from a member of the public that a sack of shellfish was being placed into a vehicle. We were unable to attend the scene in time so our Comm’s Centre staff phoned the Thames Police and they stopped the vehicle coming through Thames. These 3 individuals in the vehicle were found to have 862 cockles. The limit in the Coromandel area is 50 cockles per person so this was ridiculously over the allowable limit.

Inquiries are now been made to the whereabouts of these people so they can be formally interviewed because of the large amount of cockles they had in their possession. This may lead to the vehicle being seized.

A Te Kauwhata man was seen diving at Otama. His vehicle was later stopped by Fisheries Officers in Kuaotunu and an inspection of the vehicle was undertaken. This person was very reluctant to allow the search of his vehicle. He did a runner from the inspection scene, setting off at high speed on the opposite side of the road heading to Whitianga.

A call was immediately made to Whitianga Police for assistance. The vehicle was soon stopped in Whitianga and this person now has pending charges against him for failing to comply with the instructions of a fisheries officer. The vehicle was seized. People need to understand that any obstruction of a Fisheries Officer going about their duties is dealt with seriously by the courts.

If a Fisheries Officer requests to search your vehicle it is wise to comply. Failure to comply with those instructions can lead to more serious charges being laid, vehicle and boat seizure and a very large fine.

Lastly, a final reminder to divers. The scallop season closed on March 31.

Reported by George Ririnui,

November 2017


George Ririnui, Senior Fisheries Officer.
A lot has been happening around the Coromandel with respect to the Fisheries enforcement scene.

Two divers from South Auckland were caught with 218 undersize paua from the Coromandel area. Fishery Officers, observed both divers just going hard taking paua. Both men struggled to carry their catch bags back to the vehicle. The men appeared in the Manukau District Court for sentence after pleading guilty to Fisheries charges. Both men were fined $2000 each and also given 100 hours of community work. It was also brought to the Judge’s attention that one of the men had previous fisheries offences from 2015 for taking 212 undersize paua from Sailors Grave, Tairua. Due to his past offending, the Judge has banned this poacher from fishing and diving for 3 years.

On a separate incident a Hamilton diver was caught with 72 undersize paua from Kuaotunu. The Fishery Officers observed the diver throwing the paua into a white bucket. Later that afternoon his vehicle was stopped at a Fisheries checkpoint and searched. But no white bucket. One of the officers went and checked a track used by the diver and located the white bucket hidden under the trees He appeared in the Hamilton District Court and was sentenced to a fine of $1500. This person also had previous fisheries offences from 2015 for

taking 112 undersize paua from Kuaotunu. Again Fisheries Lawyers asked the Judge for a banning order.

The Hamilton based Judge has banned another poacher from fishing and diving for 3 years.

On both incidents various items of fishing gear used during the offending were forfeited to the Crown.


An Auckland man was caught with 38 undersize paua. Fishery Officers observed him carrying a plastic bag back to his vehicle. This person was spoken to and a search of his vehicle failed to locate the plastic bag. One of the Officers finally located the plastic bag hidden under the vehicle. Because of the language barrier, he was formally interviewed back in Auckland using an interpreter. An explanation
given to the Fishery Officer was, he didn’t mean to take the paua as it was only a planned day out with the family to the beach. He pleaded guilty in the Thames District Court and fined $1130, an expensive day out for the family.
A message from our team, the fisheries’ rules are there for all of us, if you don’t see us around, ask yourself I wonder where they are …? We do have a habit of surprising people!

The Kuoatunu Fire and Emergency New Zealand ran their annual Winter Slammer Landbased Competition on Saturday 8th July. This local competition is an excellently run competition with a great prize list. It was great to see so many junior anglers competing and walking away with a fantastic array of prizes. The forecast wasn’t the best but the day dawned beautiful with little to no wind.
Boat Ramp News: After a lengthy period during which the navigation light was not working, we are pleased to advise that this has now been rectified. Unfortunately the replacement light was dimmer than the original, but this has now also been rectified. Please note that the Harbour Master has changed the flash pattern to Morse Code 'A' continuous. He has requested feedback on these changes and also any other suggestions for improvement to the boat ramp. If you would like to give feedback please do so via the KRRA website, www.krra.org.nz, and we will pass it on to him. Another major concern with the boat ramp is the increasing number of campervans who are using the ramp's parking area as an overnight stop. We are trying to come up with ways to alleviate this, but as the boat ramp is controlled by NZTA and not TCDC, this is not easy to achieve. One idea is to find another parking spot for the campervans. Again if you have a good idea about this, please let us know!
Footpath: For those of you who are absentee ratepayers, we're pleased to announce that the first portion of a footpath from Kuaotunu West to the Kuaotunu Village has finally been built. The next section between the new footpath and the boat ramp is more technically challenging and is expected to be built by NZTA sometime in the next 12-18 months.

Notice Board: A new notice board has been installed on the corner of Irishtown Rd (between the Kuaotunu Hall and the Kuaotunu Store). A plastic dropbox has been attached to this, so if you have a community notice that you'd like to be displayed, please put your notice into this box and our KRRA notice board manager, Kate Nielsen, will put it up for you.

Kuaotunu Library Update: At the KRRA public meeting in January this year it was decided to continue with a library facility for the community. A steering committee was established and is investigating options for buildings and sites. The committee has visited other libraries for ideas, and met with TCDC to ascertain what the requirements would be. Feedback is currently awaited from TCDC planners as to the possible options for placing a new or existing building. Naturally a project of this nature will involve some cost, and the steering committee is investigating what grants could assist with this project. To kick off the fundraising the Kuaotunu Volunteer Fire Force has generously offered to share the proceeds of a Rock'n'Roll party being held at the Whitianga Town Hall on the 12th of August. So please support your community, roll up your jeans, get out those groovy dresses or pedal pushers, find the Bryl cream and get ready to rock! For further information please phone Dugald (027 493 2691) or Maxine (027 293 0369).

Kuaotunu Hall News: The Kuaotunu Hall Committee is thrilled to announce that our beloved hall now has a much-needed new floor (and much sounder foundations). We would like to acknowledge our deep gratitude to TCDC and Pub Charity Ltd, without whose financial support we could not have achieved this project. We'd also like to acknowledge the superb job done by Sayers Construction Ltd - they really have gone the extra mile for us. Unfortunately there has been one major hitch, which is that the new wood has not dried fast enough to enable the polyurethane to be applied. So the hall will not be re-opened until mid-September, after which we are planning a celebration event - watch this space! In the meantime we have taken the opportunity to extend the flooring insulation under the floor on the kitchen-side of the building, which was not part of the original project. Locals will have also spotted the new ramp (hard to miss, really). Unfortunately health & safety regulations dictated the length of this, but we are hoping to soften the effect with plantings.
Bluff Road: A Positive Solution Found
A rousing round of applause by the Kuaotunu Ratepayers and Residents Association members greeted the announcement by Paul Kelly that the Bluff Road between Matarangi and Suckers Rock will be open for walking and cycling by the end of the year. This is once unstable rocks and debris are removed and mesh netting installed. Mr. Kelly speaking at the KRRA meeting on behalf of the Thames Coromandel District Council said Council had a lot to consider but the right option has been taken to benefit the community.
“A lot of work has gone on to make this happen including independent legal opinions and considerable community liaison so it was great to report back to the community of a successful outcome. I fully endorse the announcement by Council. A cycle and walkway will be a great benefit to both the local residents of Kuaotunu and Matarangi as well as providing a further recreational activity for visitors,” said Mr Kelly.
In recent times sections of the Bluff Road have had several significant rock falls, which has resulted in approximately $200,000 already being spent on remedial and design work. The last rock fall in December 2015 resulted in the Suckers Rock to Matarangi portion of Bluff Road being closed off while Council considered its future viability. At their April meeting the TCDC approved a further $125,000 towards the remedial work, which will allow the road to be reopened later this year to cyclists and pedestrians. However it will not be accessible for vehicle traffic due to the high cost it would take to open and maintain the route for all transport modes.
"We're doing all that is required to make the road safe so it can be open to cyclists and pedestrians, who use it as a thoroughfare to get between Matarangi and Kuaotunu West," says Allan Tiplady, Mercury Bay Area Manager.
"The primary driver for reopening this portion of road is for amenity reasons rather than to provide alternate road access," he says. With Council funding in place the next steps will be removing all that rock and debris, installing the mesh netting and getting the road open before this coming summer. However until the remediation work is completed access to the road will still have to remain closed. "We also put up pedestrian barriers, bollards and signage during this time, along with a monitoring programme to manage the public safety risk," says Mr Tiplady.
Kuaotunu Village Library To Continue

The future of the Kuaotunu Village Library is becoming more secure with a steering committee being formed to work out ways to keep the service within Kuaotunu. Following a decisive vote at the public meeting held at the Kuaotunu Hall on Easter Sunday it was decided that the community of Kuaotunu should continue to maintain and support its local library. What is still under question is whether the Kuaotunu Hall can continue being the current Library venue due to ongoing access and opening hours issues. The new library steering committee will address these issues in the months ahead and will be led by Maxine McRobbie. Isabel Gilbert Palmer, Avril Nicholl, Denise Young and Marguerite Meullers have been volunteered as committee members. TCDC Mercury Bay Area Manager Alan Tiplady said the council will be able to support the new library committee in principle though it was unlikely that any assistance would be financial. It is great to see that this community library will continue, because it has been serving Kuaotunu for 123 years and is one of the oldest continuous libraries in New Zealand. There are a number of ways a small rural library can survive and the committee will investigate what is possible in the months ahead. If you want to find out how you can help keep a Library service in Kuaotunu or require further information contact Maxine McRobbie mobile (027) 2930369.

Kuaotunu Residents

Ratepayers Update

The committee of the Kuaotunu Residents and Ratepayers Association (KRRA) has raised several topics of concern with

TCDC recently both in correspondence and at our public meeting held in January. In order to better explain our

position and continue dialogue with council the committee invited Mercury Community Board Chairman, Paul Kelly, and

TCDC MB Area Manager, Allan Tiplady, to meet with us to discuss our concerns and we thank them both for coming out

to Kuaotunu in mid-February to discuss these.

The main topics covered in a very useful meeting included the proposed MB Medical Facility, the Bluff Road closure,

footpaths at the Kuaotunu boat-ramp, and a bike rack and community notice board at Kuaotunu Village.

The medical facility was discussed at length and it was confirmed that the original decision to use the Waterways land

out past the fire station was decided by Council’s Economic Development Committee. This was revealed to the public in

a one sentence comment in their minutes of 31 May, 2016 by Glen Leach but none of the events leading up to this decision

appear to be in the public record of their meetings. The decision was made public several months after Leigh Hopper

from Waterways had resigned from his position as a member of the Economic Development Committee.

KRRA has decided that we will achieve little by pursuing this matter further with council so will concentrate on other local

issues and watch further developments of the medical facility with interest. We thank council for the time and effort they

have put into answering our queries on this and other matters recently.

The best news we have had for sometime is that both council and LTNZ are cooperating on a staged extension of the

footpath westwards to the boatramp (LTNZ) and then on to Kuaotunu West (TCDC). This will provide a much safer

environment for residents and ratepayers when walking along this stretch of scenic coastline as a steel guardrail will separate pedestrians from road traffic. Work is expected to commence in early to mid-2017.

Reported by Alastair Brickell