Celebrating 20 years of Waitārere Beach Wardens

Published on December 06, 2022

Waitarere Beach Wardens_2022.

If you’re heading to Waitārere Beach this summer, give a friendly wave to the dedicated Beach Wardens as they celebrate their 20th anniversary patrolling the area.

Acting as kaitiaki/guardians of the coastline, Waitārere Beach Wardens have been protecting the summer hot spot since 2002. 

While thousands flock to the beach for swimming, fishing, or a day out, the wardens spend their time keeping the beach a safe space for visitors to enjoy. Working with police and operating under a Warrant of Appointment as officers of Horowhenua District Council, the volunteers ensure Council bylaws are observed. 

“Beach Wardens work closely with all emergency services,” says Beach Warden Coordinator Craig Dyson. “Using the Beach Warden 4WD vehicle to ferry emergency staff and equipment to an accident site, the wardens assist in emergency situations and have been used in Search and Rescue operations. During the popular Big Dig community event held annually on 2 January, the wardens work alongside Levin Police to ensure safe driving and parking in designated areas on the beach.” 

The group was formed after a chaotic Labour Day weekend when boy racers caused havoc on the beach. The Waitārere Beach Progressive & Ratepayers Association vowed to reclaim the beach for the enjoyment of all. 

A few months later, on 11 December 2002, with the support of Horowhenua District Council, seven volunteers were accredited as warranted traffic control and litter wardens for the beach. The group has continued to evolve since. 

The Waitārere Beach Warden model was a first in New Zealand, with many other areas adopting the initiative. A similar group at Foxton Beach has also been established. 

The 20-strong Beach Warden team monitor traffic speed and potential hazards, prevent rubbish dumping and littering, help enforce fire and liquor bans, and promote safe and responsible fishing and shellfish gathering. 

They also provide helpful information to beach goers. From current hazards or dangers, safety messages, potential upcoming beach closures or bylaws, wardens are equipped with the knowledge and drive to keep beach life blissful. They’re also known for helping to tow vehicles that have gotten stuck in the sand, and delivering first aid. 

The wardens love to share their knowledge with visitors. They aren’t afraid to remind beachgoers on driving, kontiki and beach etiquette. The Beach Warden 4WD vehicle has newly-installed security cameras which record and download video footage, which can be accessed by Levin Police on request should an incident occur. This information integrates with the Waitārere Community Cameras system currently operating at all beach entrances/exits. 

The team welcome new faces who share a similar drive to keep the beach safe and enjoyable for all who use it.

Volunteers need to be residents of Waitārere Beach, be of good character and have an ability to positively interact with all beach users. They’re expected to be available to patrol three to four times between December and April.

If you are interested in becoming a beach warden, contact Craig Dyson on 100cdyson@gmail.com