Sept. 12, 2019, 3:23 p.m.
The Wairoa river is at the centre of debate within the community of Ahipara. In recent weeks, beach access has been cut of following on-going coastal erosion along Te Oneroa-a-Tohe. It is now threatening bordering homes.
The FNDC have applied a blockade of concrete blocks across the Kaka St beach access as a precautionary measure to keep the public safe now that it’s merely a cliff that remains at the entrance. Locals recall other natural entry points along the coast and recommend investigating further to assess the feasibility of these being re-opened.
A meeting called by a local councillor saw concerned residents and wider community members come together to find a pathway forward. Suggestions to divert the river in a new direction were met with a resounding NO and Ahipara Takiwa said the Wairoa is an entity it’s own and Papatuānuku will take her course.
With rough weather thrashing the coast over recent weeks, past attempts at diverting the flow with large boulders have re-appeared with the sand movement and Ahipara resident Tui Qauqau Te Paa said it’s unfortunate for those homes along the coast, but diverting the natural path of the Wairoa river was not going to happen.
“People have tried diversions in the past - it hasn’t worked. The Wairoa is a part of our natural flora and fauna and is an entity in her own right. She needs to be treated as such,” said Te Paa.
Severe weather coupled with king-tides has pushed swells from the sea further inland eating up much of the dunes that once protected some of the residents of Ahipara’s coastal village.
Residents along the coast continue to seek advice on effective ways forward to protect the seaside properties.