Protecting our precious estuary at Foxton Beach

Published on December 23, 2021


Protecting our precious estuary at Foxton Beach

The Manawatū River Estuary which borders Foxton Beach is an internationally recognised Ramsar Convention site. The estuarine wetland is host to one of the most diverse ranges of birds to be seen at any one place in New Zealand, with a total of 95 species being identified at the estuary.

It should then go without saying that this treasured ecological wetland is of significant importance to all of us and as such demands our protection.

Unfortunately, motorbike enthusiasts are threatening this wetland and the peaceful coastal vibe by speeding up and down the beach, riding across our precious dunes and damaging plants for their own fun and pleasure.

We have seen an increase in the volume of incidents and complaints over the last few months. 

“It seems to be getting worse, and it’s not just locals acting irresponsibly and impacting on the dunes, but also visitors from out of the district. Unfortunately, there is a lack of understanding of the importance of this coastal space, and the consequences that these actions cause” says Sean Hester, Parks and Property Lead.

Horowhenua District Council along with the Police, Foxton Beach community, Iwi and other concerned organisations will meet in the New Year to work out a formalised approach to stamp out this behaviour, prevent environmental damage, as well as ensure public safety.

Currently, vehicles are allowed on Foxton Beach, the speed limit is 30km, and most people are respectful and responsible with their vehicles and of others. In the past, temporary fencing was installed, signage and a volunteer community patrol to prevent dune damage near the estuary.

People working at the Council along with school and community groups have been planting dune-building natives, to help support and grow the dunes along the beach. It’s an ongoing project to help build the resilience of the dunes.

“It is disheartening that some people think it’s ok to ride all along and up the dunes, and end up tearing out dune grasses. We’re keen to educate beach goers of the importance of the dunes. This is so it can be a fun recreation space, but that we still look after this precious environment.” Sean Hester says.

If you are at Foxton Beach and see reckless, unsafe, damaging and irresponsible behaviour please call 111 to report your concerns.

If you would like to be involved in the Foxton Beach planting days, follow us on Facebook to find out what’s coming up, email or call us on 06 366 0999.


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