Newdicks Beach is an area of coastal cliffs, dune land and beach located to the east of Okurei (Town Point), Maketu. The unique topography of the area means there are a variety of habitats within the coastal zone.
There is a range of native fauna found at Newdicks, one of the most popular being New Zealand fur seals which can nearly always be seen sunning themselves on rocks, or lazing around in the shallows.
Unfortunately, a high prevalence of pest plants and animals are impacting the area, so in March 2014 a group of locals, including Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society volunteers, made an Earth Hour pledge to start cleaning up Newdicks Beach.
With the support of BOPRC, WBOPDC, DOC and Landowners, the Newdicks Beach Biodiversity Management Plan launched in July 2015. Great progress has been made in the zones along Newdicks Beach such as:
- Upper car park: removal of gorse and replanting with mixed native trees, toi toi and flax which has improved the view down the beach.
- Lower car park: a fence was erected, and native plants such as Horokaka (native ice plant) used to anchor the soil and reduce erosion. This has helped to build a dune to protect the car park. Steps were set up to access the beach, the norfolk pines and a large palm tree were removed, pohutukawa and taupata have been planted, and a great deal of work has been done to protect the large pohutukawa tree which is being washed away by the sea.
- Cliff zone: invasive grasses are regularly sprayed, pine trees, pampass and gorse are being removed, and new native plantings have been completed. Sand binding dune plants such as pingao and spinifex have been planted along the base of the cliff zone to further protect from erosion.
- Dune zone: dune plants have been planted to help stabilise the dunes, invasive grasses sprayed, and there is a pest trapping program near the bird breeding sites.
Baseline monitoring of the ecology of these zones is carried out regularly so that we can study the effect of our work on native flora and fauna species such as shore skinks, dotterels, oystercatchers, and invertebrates.
We run regular working bees at Newdicks which are always well attended by enthusiastic people willing to give up their time to restore their local beauty spot.
The beach is also frequented by the local schools, including as part of the MOWS education program. The tamariki help with important work such as planting native species, studying the fauna, and clearing up rubbish.
The beach is a favorite place for many of the local people, and a place of cultural significance, so it is vital that we preserve it for future generations.