Waikanae River Estuary Scientific Reserve

Birds on the sandspit

By John Robinson

Waikanae Sandspit Credit: David Wall

Where the Waikanae River flows out to sea there is an estuary bounded by two sandspits, on the north (Waikanae) side and the south (Paraparaumu) side.

There many birds live and gather – oystercatchers, pied stilts, gulls (red-billed and black-backed), spoonbills, shags, terns (Caspian and white-fronted), knots, godwits, blue reef herons, and others.

Some, such as oystercatchers, nest and raise their young there.  Others might do so but for intrusive human activity.

This is part of a valuable ecological system, a link between land and sea.

That special value was recognised when it was made a Scientific Reserve in 1987.  It is bounded on the seaward side by the Kapiti Marine Reserve, which followed in 1992.

Pied stlts (Painting by Cushla McGaughey)

More people to enjoy the area

The number of people around the estuary has increased over the years, and further increase is expected.  Buildings crowd round the periphery.

That need not make it any harder to care for the reserve – so long as we are all aware of its special value, and ready to look after our common environment.  Then the surrounding community can keep an eye on things.

We can all enjoy this place responsibly, walking, admiring the birds and the shifting sands without destroying it as we go.

It is a resource for schools to teach of the environment and the need for special care by a growing population.

Driving on the sandspit is spoiling the environment

BUT vehicles frequently drive across the sandspit, and there is all too little awareness that this is a Scientific Reserve.

Action is urgently needed to put an end to that damage.

A first step is to know what we are talking about.

The location and boundaries of the Scientific Reserve are shown on the map below.


(To be continued.)



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