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Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand


-------- Keeping our coasts alive Winter 2022

  Spinifex in compostable pots at Riverside Nursery, Rangiora , Canterbury  

Chair's message


Kia ora koutou

Over the last few months there has been a lot of publicity about climate change impacts including sea level rise, and the need to look at adaptation, including managed retreat from areas at high risk.  It is great to see more and more conversations about these topics in mainstream media but in order to achieve meaningful and effective action these conversations need to be fully informed. We have been advocating for managed retreat and restoration of coastal buffers for decades and it is vital that the environmental impact is taken into account and consideration made of coastal ecosystems which are being 'squeezed' by development.

We recently submitted on the Draft National Adaptation Plan released by the Government in May.  Although it is a massive step forward to have a draft plan which considers actions such as managed retreat there were some large gaps which hopefully will be resolved once the plan is finalised.  Our key points included the importance of having a framework in place to facilitate consistent and pro-active coastal management around the country and the need for sufficient resourcing to allow this to happen, particularly outside of the main population centres.

The Trust's cache of free resources for coastal restoration is about to have a big new addition with the first of our new video series.  Those of you at our online event saw the introductory video and the first eight videos are now complete and will be released very soon. The videos are funded by the Department of Conservation’s Community Fund and produced by long term supporters of the Trust Janet and Simon at Southlight Studios. We are very pleased to welcome Sarah Dillon onto the team to help us with comms planning, focussing initially on promotion of the videos.

The videos provide an overview of key messages from our popular Coastal 101 Restoration Workshops run by our coastal scientist and technical advisor Jim Dahm.  The topics covered include coastal processes, sea level rise, working with nature and an overview of dune restoration.  Please keep an eye out for the videos over the next few months, and help to share them wherever possible.  The video project team are already working on the next set of videos which will include estuaries, coastal zonation and succession, and adaptive management.

Last month we held our first online event which was very successful despite some teething troubles.  As we haven't been able to meet in person this year it was great to see some of you online and to hear some regional round-up and student presentations.  It was a great mix of presentations and thanks to everyone who contributed.  PDF's of these presentations, as well as some extras are available on our website

Before I finish, I'd like to acknowledge all of you out there doing your bit to both restore our natural coastal environments and advocating for their protection and sustainable management.  In particular I'd like to thank Jason Roberts of Christchurch City Council who has just been awarded our Pīngao and Toheroa award for his decades of dedication to dune restoration.  Jason has co-ordinated the planting of tens of thousands of spinifex along Christchurch beaches and has worked with countless schools and other groups to educate them about the importance of coastal dunes and how they can be protected.  Jason is very humble about his work and achievements, but the award is very much deserved and was unanimously, and very enthusiastically, supported by the Coastal Restoration Trust board.

Happy planting!

Ngā mihi nui,

Laura Shaft



Jason Roberts receives Pīngao & Toheroa trophy


On a beautiful sunny day at North Beach, Christchurch, Jason Roberts received our Pīngao & Toheroa trophy from our trustees Greg Bennett and Lyle Mason.


Jason has been working on coastal restoration for 30 years and his job has evolved to include educational sessions in schools and the wider community.


Seeing people enjoy the restored parts of the dunes and beaches is his favourite part of the work.


Jason has attended many of our conferences, was one of the main organisers when we held the conference in Christchurch in 2017 and has led very entertaining quiz sessions during several of our conference dinners.


Some articles about this trophy presentation and Jason's work can be found here.


Alasdair Hall, 2022 recipient of CRT scholarship, reports


On November 14th, 2016, the Kaikōura region was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that had significant impacts on the coastal habitat used by New Zealand fur seals/kekeno (NZFS). Prior to this event, the local NZFS population had been growing, with an estimate of 2,471 pups produced at Ōhau Point in the 2014/15 breeding season.


Since that study, there has been no comprehensive assessment of the local NZFS population. However, in winter 2021, a preliminary survey by DOC staff indicated NZFS breeding occuring at sites where it had not previously been recorded. As such, my study aims to provide an estimate of the abundance and distribution of NZFS in Kaikōura between Paparoa Point and Goose Bay. In addition, I want to provide an assessment of health indicators for pups at different sites along the coast, as well as an evaluation of some of the risks posed by, for example, the proximity of colonies to State Highway 1.


See the slides of Al's presentation at our online event here.


Our first ever online event was held in May



Following the postponement of our conference this year, we had an online catch-up instead. About 40 people joined in.


The presentations were a mix of Regional Roundups, student updates, information on CRT resources and the introductory video for our new video series, which will be available online soon.


The feedback has been great, despite some technical hiccups on our and other sides.


We may be holding more of these in the future: possibly in between conferences.


For links to some of the presentations go here.


Caring for our place, protecting our pīngao


Students from Ngataki school were privileged to work in a close relationship with local pīngao kaitiaki, Betsy Young. They have travelled to Rarawa Beach on a regular basis to sit with pīngao and get to know it more intimately. One of the highlights of this approach has been going out to Rarawa Beach to observe the areas where the pīngao is growing, to teach the ākonga/ students to be still with it and observe its life cycle and what’s impacting it.  With Betsy Young’s support, students learnt about the plant’s history, and how to identify, harvest, grow, prick out, and replant pīngao seeds at the correct time of year.

Seven year 8 students completed an inquiry project on the importance of pīngao and what actions we could take to help bring about education and awareness and protection.




Predicting harvest impact and establishment success when translocating highly mobile and endangered species


Our 2016 Scholarship recipient, Johannes Fischer, has produced another paper in relation to the Whenua hou diving petrel.


He has been researching what the effects would be of translocations of highly mobile and endangered species and also how well they would establish at their new sites.


Check our Scholarship page for a link to this paper and all the other ones that Johannes has produced.


We acknowledge the Journal of Applied Ecology for their open access to this article.


Seabirds disorientated by light pollution at sea


Many seabirds get disorientated by artificial lights at night, which can lead to collisions with vessels (vessel strikes).


Following vessel strikes, seabirds can be contaminated with chemicals on deck, such as oil or fuel. This causes loss of waterproofing and subsequent drowning.


Vessel strikes can also cause direct seabird deaths. The risk of vessel strike is highest during foggy and rainy nights.


A guide on how to mitigate this risk is on the DOC website.


Photo by Johannes Fischer


Anna McNaughton reports on the Awhitu Dunes101 Workshop


The Awhitu and Karioitahi care groups combined to bring Jim Dahm to Pollok for one of Jim’s famous “Working with Nature - Dune Restoration” workshops in May. Funded by local sponsors and Auckland Council, the workshop was aimed at our local coastal communities from the West Coast, Karioitahi northwards and all our Manukau Harbour coastline and bach communities. We were delighted to also welcome people from South Kaipara and Whitianga.


Jim gave a quality presentation; of particular interest for our highly erodable West Coast were the patterns of sand movement north from the Taranaki Bight.


Jim's photos showed the removal of hardy bach garden favourites Arctotis, Osteospermum, Gazania, Agapanthus and pampas from the dunes and replacing them with sand–binding native Spinifex and pīngao (the first line of defence).


Locally some great work was done by a community group called The Shoreline Kids some thirty years ago, so there are some well-established foredunes on our harbour edge, but more are needed.


The workshop concluded with a visit to a West Coast dune restoration project initiated by Awhitu Landcare, now topped up annually by Coast Care Awhitu. The initial funding paid for fencing (essential to protect from feet and wheels) plus the first two years of planting Spinifex. These first plantings exceeded our expectations with the original boundary fence overtopped within four years. The fence was replaced with lightweight waratahs plus electric tape fence, which has been remarkably effective.


Ongoing work focuses on the back dune: establishing coastal flax, toetoe (Austroderia splendens), Ozothamnus, Muehlenbeckia, Carex pumila. Those of us who braved the foaming incoming tide and wild winds to check out the dunes were rewarded.


The future of saltmarshes in Rangaunu Harbour


Coastal saltmarshes are among the most productive ecosystems in the world and sequester and store a significant amount of carbon in their soils where it may persist for millennia, thereby mitigating the increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere. Saltmarshes also provide critical ecosystem services such as flood protection and water filtration and support regional biodiversity. Despite their recognised importance as nature-based solutions for disaster and climate resilience, little is known about the specific carbon sequestration potential of saltmarshes in New Zealand, and how these ecosystems are likely to respond to rising sea levels.


Olya Albot's PhD research will investigate the soil carbon stocks and sequestration potential of three saltmarsh sites in Rangaunu Harbour, Northland, and quantify the impacts of sea level rise on these ecosystems. This project has the potential to provide the necessary data and direction needed for establishing a blue carbon credit scheme in Aotearoa and other pathways that aim to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions. The modelling results will inform land-use and coastal adaptation planning and highlight the valuable role that thriving biodiversity can play in our approach to mitigating climate change.


Dune health pilot programme held at Bream Bay, Northland


Over the summer Northland Regional Council ran a dune health pilot programme with Patuharakeke Te Iwi Trust Board.  Local CoastCare group Bream Bay Coastal Care,  Northtec and Renew School have also been involved in surveys. The purpose was to develop a fuller picture of dune health to complement the dune vegetation monitoring being undertaken. Four sites were chosen across Bream Bay to ensure a wide range of habitats and levels of management were included.

At each site a 5-minute bird count was conducted and four transects set up to survey vegetation, pests, skinks and invertebrates. At two of the sites artificial shelters for skinks were placed in January and checked in March under the supervision of approved handlers. The species recorded included katipō, native cockroach, copper, shore and plague skinks, rats, hedgehogs, 24 species of plant and 22 species of bird, including the nationally critical NZ fairy tern, tara iti. The programme is expected to continue in Bream Bay and be implemented in other significant dune systems around Northland.



Database now hosts more than 8000 entries


Our database continues to grow and improve, not only in numbers but also by adding previously unobtainable pdf versions of documents. It has recently reached the 8000th entry.

Some new documents added recently are:


Planting for biodiversity at Kopu Bridge near Thames. - Carol Fielding (in Trilepidea May 2022)


How can we prevent the extinction of whitebait? - Shane Orchard (our 2015 scholarship recipient)


Missing the forest and the trees: utility, limits and caveats for drone imaging of coastal marine ecosystems - Tait, L.W.; Orchard, S.; Schiel, D.R., 2021

If you come across any NZ coastal documents that are not in our database please email us.


Some calendar events


29 June

Living at the water's edge - Webinar


30 June

Mazda Foundation's next round of funding applications closes


3 July

Firth of Thames Wader Census


10 July

Vehicles on Muriwai deadline to have your say


29 July

Canon grant applications close


Find out details of these and other events here.


Happy planting!

Pataua North planting 2020, by Laura Shaft  

Thank you to all who helped create this newsletter by contributing articles and photos. Much appreciated!


The planting season is upon us and with all the rain we have been having, the plants will be happy getting into the sand/soil.


Remember to:


Wishing you all fine days for planting and regular rain after that to make the plants grow!


Lyneke Onderwater

Administrator (email below)

Principal Partners
Greater Wellington Regional Council Environment Canterbury Northland Regional Council
Christchurch City Council Department of Conservation
Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand      21A Memorial Drive, Parahaki, Whangārei 0112
Ph: 04 889 2337      Email:
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