Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Stand up for your land!

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

You might not be aware of it but there’s a review of stewardship land on the West Coast going on at the moment and I reckon it’s pretty important.

Stewardship land was allocated to DOC when it was established as a government department in 1987. DOC manages this land under the Conservation Act 1987 to protect it.

A National Panel for the Western South Island, and a Ngāi Tahu Mana Whenua Panel have recently reviewed the 504 pieces of stewardship land on the Coast and made draft recommendations for future classification of this land.

Their recs aren’t final and DOC wants feedback to help determine the best outcome for stewardship land on the Coast.

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A great opportunity for us to choose what happens here
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Parcels of land along the Coast Road up for Re-classification

Submissions are the chance for you and me to have a say. I’ve summarised some info about the pieces of land which are really important for me below.

You can copy each of the headings below into the submission portal when selecting which parcel you want to submit on.

If you want to submit follow this link for more info: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2022-consultations/help-us-reclassify-stewardship-land-on-the-west-coast/

Submissions close 26 July 2022.

Conservation Area – Northern Paparoa Range (2808295)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

This area contains high ecological values very similar to the existing Paparoa National Park. including ecosystems untouched by humans. This area deserves the kind of protection that being added to Paparoa National Park provides.

Conservation Area – Basin Road (2808292)- Conservation Area – Charleston (2808367)- Conservation Area – Nile River (2808291)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Unique cave systems, historic places and lush West Coast rainforest of nikau, rata and rimu. This area is another block that mimics that of land already under Paparoa National Park. These cave systems are so important to what makes Paparoa unique (limestone formations built over thousands of years) that they must remain looked after to the standard National Parks offer.

Conservation Area – Woodpecker Bay (2808374)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Home to Great Spotted Kiwi the small but special piece of stewardship land deserves the recognition of National Park status. Fitting in with the surrounding landscapes of limestone escarpment ecosystems this needs to be protected.

Conservation Area – Fox River (2808375)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

This small parcel of land should have been included in the Paparoa National Park at its onset. It wasn’t but now is the time to include it. Giant rata tower above the Fox River and continuing the Paparoa National Park alongside the river is very important for the integrity of the area.

Conservation Area – Bullock Creek Farm (2808377)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

Bullock Creek Farm, originally cleared for farming is now being given a new life. This area is being replanted by Conservation Volunteers NZ in a huge effort to blend, what was abandoned grass land, into the beauty of the surrounding Paparoa National Park. The hard effort of volunteers and professional tree planters will be appreciated greatly if this area gets the protection of National Park status. Future generations will walk through the regenerating bush to the start of the Mt Bovis Track, Cave Stream track and Inland Pack Track. With National Park status this area will be here for everyone forever.

Conservation Area – Punakaiki – Coast Road (South) (2806891)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

You walk up the Punakaiki River, no matter the conditions you’re in awe of the hills you face. The towering cliffs, the huge rata and rimu that somehow stay connected to the near vertical faces. Behind and to the sides of these parcels of land is the Paparoa National Park. which was given the highest protection our land system allows and for good reason, this place is unlike any other. The Paparoa Track, New Zealand’s 10th Great Walk ends here, right next to PAP_14.

Let’s keep this area a magical finish for riders on this amazing track and add it to the National Park they have been through on the track.

Conservation Area – Paparoa Range South (2806778)- Conservation Area – Baker Creek (2806784)- Conservation Area – Barrytown – S.H.6 (2806570)-Conservation Area – Seventeen Mile Bluff (2809052)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

National parks are subject to more stringent preservation and protection imperatives than other protected area classifications. Paparoa Range South, Barrytown, Baker Creek & Seventeen Mile bluff stewardship land is without doubt a significant area that deserves these more stringent preservation and protection imperatives.

Conservation Area – Northern Paparoa Range (2808295)

Support National Panels Recommendation. 

I support this recommendation because the land has high conservation, recreation and landscape values. I also suggest that it be noted the area provides a buffer for the Paparoa Wilderness Area.

Experience Centre build kicks off

Sunday, June 12th, 2022

We’ve had a couple of celebrations in Punakaiki over the past few weeks to mark the start of something huge for our piece of paradise – the building of the new Experience Centre.

 

This is a major milestone for the Department of Conservation’s Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project and we’re stoked about it.

The community got to celebrate first – big ups to the Project people for that – with drinks and snacks and a presentation about how the build will play out (shout out to the Ocean View Retreat for great food and hospitality).

The following weekend Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirakatene, Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine, our very own community rep Marie Elder, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae chairman Francois Tumahai and a couple of other project people turned sods for the formal start.

Now the work has started. It’s going to be quite a thing for little old Punakaiki, there’s even a 100-tonne crane moving in to help.

 

What’s really cool too is there’s some locals who’ve got work on the build through to when it finishes in September next year.

 

And our mates at Conservation Volunteers down the road have been helping out by gathering seeds and seedlings for the green roof which is going on the Centre. Awesome.

 

If you’re in Punakaiki the Paparoa National Park Visitor Centre will be open as always – nothing changes with that till the new build is finished and the Visitor Centre moves in there.

 

But watch this space…it’s definitely going to be an eye-catching addition to Punakaiki.

Running the Paparoa Track in a day

Monday, December 13th, 2021

We woke up in Blackball in our tent, stepped outside, tent was surrounded by water, soaking feet already; we knew it would be a big day! 

We were very excited to run the Paparoa Track in a day. Johanna and I had run a half marathon (21kms) a few months before and had been slowly building our kms since then; we were ready for the mighty Paparoa (56km). 

 

After breakfast we were in the car and ready to go, we drove up to the Smoke-ho carpark, the start of the Paparoa. Unloaded our gears and good to go! The rain was coming down and we were pumped. 

The track was amazing in the rain. Waterfalls were coming from everywhere, a lot of the track was a constant river, a few small creeks were now rivers, thank you bridges! 

 

We made it to Ces Clark hut in an hour and a half, which is certainly faster than biking up there. Two ladies there at the hut had decided not to go on further that day and the rest of their group had gone to Moonlight. They texted ahead to let their group know we were coming.

 

This next section from Ces Clark to Moonlight tops hut was the most exposed section and the wind made for exciting running! I was definitely regretting shaving all my hair off the week before, it would have made for great head protection!

We made it to Moonlight tops hut from Smoke-ho carpark in 3 hours on the dot. The other half of the tramping group greeted us with Toblerone chocolate. A quick break for some gels and then off to our next destination for lunch at the emergency shelter. 

 

The Goblin Forest was just amazing in these conditions, the clouds made for a super spooky atmosphere and also kept us sheltered from the howling wind. Out of the forest we came onto the escarpment, an amazing rock feature coming out of the mountains, which of course we couldn’t see. We marched on. 

 

Lunch at the emergency shelter was a nice rest, 4 hours 39 minutes after leaving smoke-ho car park. Now time to get off the mountain and into the temperate rainforest we love so much. The waterfall above the bridge was pumping and we were happy for the warmth the forest offered. 

 

6 hours 45 minutes in and we made it to Pororari hut. Here a lady asked me what we were training for!? Was a bit of a shock as Johanna and I had been training the last 3 months for exactly this. If the Paparoa Track in a day is just a training exercise I’d hate to think what the goal is!

Really feeling it after 43kms

After leaving Pororari hut the burn started to come on, snack breaks were regular, music helped keep us motivated and we had to start going slower until about 8kms to go when my legs totally stopped working – I had pulled something and could no longer walk. 

 

It was a frustrating moment, we were so close and had been going for 10.5 hours at this stage and were ready to go home. The weather was coming in again and it was getting late. We figured there was no way I was going to make it out as I could hardly do a few more steps. 

 

Johanna ran out to get help which arrived a few hours later, just in time for dark. Injured and exhausted I made it out; Johanna the wee trooper had run the whole track plus a return trip to Bullock creek turn-off and out again. We are grateful to the calm and collected response team of locals that helped the effort. At the end of the day we were stoked for a shower, glass of wine and the memories we will take of this epic adventure! 

Peak Paparoa on track

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

From October through to the end of April Ces Clarke, Moonlight and Pororari huts all have a warden in place.

They mostly do an eight day on, six day off rotation, so two wardens will call each hut home over these months.

Hut wardens are there to help visitors enjoy their stay whether it’s their first time in the bush or their hundredth.

They make sure the huts are clean and tidy, the gas and water are running, help out with any issues or queries and can give you the latest weather forecast

The wardens know heaps about the track and its stories so make sure you have a yarn to them when you’re up there.

The picture shows them at the waharoa marking the Punakaiki end of the track.

New Punakaiki shared pathway

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

We are well stoked with the new pathway for walkers and cyclists which runs from the Truman Track to the Punakaiki River, it’s awesome for those of us who live in lovely Punakaiki and for visitors too.

It used to be that to get from one part of Punakaiki to another on foot or bike you had to scuttle along the verge on the side of State Highway 6 making sure you were out of the way of traffic.

Now things are way better – it’s not just walkers and mountain bikers who are enjoying it, wheelchair users and kids learning to ride bikes and scooters reckon it’s pretty darn good too.

The 4.2km pathway is part of the Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project (DPRP) which includes building a new visitor centre to replace the existing DOC facility.

That building design looks amazing and we’re really looking forward to that too.

The pathway was something the community said was a priority during consultations about both the Dolomite Point Redevelopment Project and Buller District Council’s Greater Punakaiki Masterplan.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency managed the build was carried out by local subcontractors.

Thanks DPRP, BDC and Waka Kotahi – appreciate you listening to us and your mahi!

Punakaiki’s Top 5 to do’s for families

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

So, the winter solstice has passed, Matariki has been sighted and from here on in the days get longer and the summer closer – yay!

 

It’s time to start planning how you’re going to spend your summer holidays and here at the Punakaiki Beach Camp we can definitely help with that.

Our little piece of paradise, tucked between the Tasman Sea and Pororari River, has tent sites, powered sites, cabins with views and much more.

 

The main piece of advice from guests who’ve stayed previously is to be sure to book for at least a couple of nights as there’s so much for the whole family to do here.

Here’s our top five for families:

 

1. A visit to the Pancake Rocks and blowholes is a must, of course. You can walk there from the camp in under 15 minutes.

 

2. On the way you can drop in to the Punakaiki Cavern and check out the stalactites and glow worms.

 

3. Head north from the camp to the Truman Track via Punakaiki’s new pathway for

walkers and cyclists. The track is an easy 15-minute walk through native bush ending at the coast where there are stunning views.

 

4. If you’ve always wanted to give stand up paddle boarding or surfing a go talk to Dion at the Paparoa Paddle Co by the beach camp office and he’ll sort you out.

 

5. If you want to stretch your legs a bit further check out the Pororari River walk, rated one of the most beautiful short walks in the country.

 

So get in quick and make your bookings before everyone else does.

 

Look forward to seeing you here.

Taiko Festival rocks Punakaiki!

Monday, May 17th, 2021

700 people attended this years Taiko Festival here at the Punakaiki Beach Camp and it went off! Wearing gumboots and swannies attendees danced through the night at what is now becoming a must do on the West Coast event calendar. 

Tiki Tanae and PDiggggs came together in an epic set of NZ “fire tunes”. The two friends bounced off each other into the night. 

Boutique Punakaiki festival woos national talent

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

Bird-watching, tree-planting, yoga, clowning around, dancing, singing, poetry, kids racing around – it’s time for the mini Glastonbury of the South again!

Three years after wowing Tāiko Festival audiences at the boutique Punakaiki event, Kiwi music legend Tiki Taane is coming back, joined by Shapeshifter vocalist PDigsss.

Festival Chair Jed Findlay says Taane jumped at the chance to come back to the family-friendly festival on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 May, with his good mate PDigsss.

“They were supposed to play in 2020, but… COVID-19 happened to the world. Being the great guys they are, they’re back on the bill for 2021! The two will both perform solo, and then together in the beautiful Untamed Natural Wilderness of Punakaiki on Saturday 8 May (at the Punakaiki Beach Camp, to be exact).”

Findlay says tickets sold out last time Tiki Taane played, and PDigsss would also be a huge drawcard.

“We love being able to bring top NZ musicians to the Coast. And the cool thing is, they seem to love coming to our wee neck of the woods. It’s a great vibe.”

Nationally renowned North Island-based poet David Merritt will perform earlier in the day, joined by New Plymouth musician Justine Francis, after Punakaiki poet laureate Trev Hayes kicks off the entertainment at 4pm after the kids’ activities wind up.

“Poet of the People” David Merritt tours the country regularly. He’s often found with a small table of poetry books for sale, waiting for custard squares and conversation. Teamed up with Justine Francis, they describe their act: ‘A twisting, touching emotional/ political landscape painted through words and music – deep and wispy sounds threading through the rhythm of the work like rising smoke.’

Not Just Jazz almost stole the show in 2019 with their high energy crowd-pleasers, and this big band is back again to warm up the audience for the headliners.

Auckland DJ Dylan C will play the night out till it finishes at 12midnight.

The Tāiko Festival was started seven years ago to mark the return of the tāiko to nesting sites just south of Punakaiki. As well as the performance event, it includes a beach parade and talk by local bird specialist Kerry-Jayne Wilson at 5.30pm on Friday 7 May at McMillan’s Beach, followed by an epic open mic night at the Punakaiki Beach Camp (bring any instruments you want).

On Saturday morning, options include native tree planting at the Conservation Volunteers area on Saturday morning, yoga on the beach in Punakaiki (or at the beach camp under cover if wet), and a community market on the village green at Dolomite Point.

Kids’ activities start at the beach camp from 2 – 4pm.

Because it’s the West Coast, and May, festival organisers remind people to bring warm layers, rain coats, and think about gumboots for footwear.

“We’re hardy souls used to a bit of weather, and the great thing is West Coasters never let that get in the way of a great time,” Jed says.

Tickets sold for the 2020 festival will be honoured for the 2021 event. Tickets are available at cosmicticketing.co.nz. More information at https://www.facebook.com/TaikoFestival.

New holiday home website

Monday, April 5th, 2021
We might be bucking the trend a bit but we’ve been blown away by the number of New Zealanders making plans to head for Punakaiki who ask us about holiday homes.

They want comfortable houses where they can chill, do their own thing in terms of cooking but places that are also a bit special in our piece of paradise
Seascapes View
Seascapes Kitchen
Seascapes Living
We were already renting out homes via the Punakaiki Beach Camp website but realised that that’s unlikely to be the first place people visit for that type of accommodation.
 
So now we’ve brought the houses together in a new website Punakaiki E’scapes using state of the art technology such as walk around video views.
Treescapes Master room
Treescapes Living
Treescapes Deck
The E’scapes are three lovely holiday homes, TreescapesSeascapes and Cliffscapes. They showcase what Punakaiki is all about – subtropical forest, classic West Coast beaches and towering limestone cliffs.
Cliffscapes View
Cliffscapes Garden
Cliffscapes Living
They all have fully-equipped kitchens, indoor and outdoor dining spaces, free wifi and are in prime locations for views and access to all that Punakaiki has on offer. Our E’scapes are ideal for Paparoa Track users, road trippers, families, or small groups.
 
Visit the site and make your booking before they’re all snapped up.

Our very own Paparoa Track builder

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

At the beach camp we have a real expert on the Paparoa Track, one who helped build it.

Tim got a job straight out of school working as part of the Department of Conservation team which built the Moonlight Tops section of the Great Walk.

Not a bad way to start life on the outside!

Tim says it was an amazing job. “I got to work in my backyard and build something that’s going to be here for a long long time “It was an epic place to work, very rewarding.”

At times they worked in snow for seven day stretches to get the work done, staying in existing huts and mountain biking to site in the mornings.

Tim’s work mates came from France, the Czech Republic and the US as well as NZ. He learnt heaps from them, he says.

This included techniques the old timers who built the pack tracks for miners used such as swales (rock culverts).

The existing swales had proved their worth by still being in good order over a century after they were built. 

Copying old methods also means the new parts of the track blend with existing sections.

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Tim says they did a lot of environmental rehab up there too. 

If plants had to be dug out they were replanted on the inside edge of the track after sections were built which saved them and lessened landscape scarring.

So when you’re riding or walking through, keep an eye out for his work!

Coffee and whitebait, what’s not to love?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

If you’re one of those people who likes to start the day with primo caffeination we’ve news for you.

Right here in the Punakaiki Beach Camp we have a most excellent coffee cart serving up flat whites, lattes, short blacks, long blacks, name your choice.

Each and every morning, from about 7 onwards, our resident barista Dion can be found behind his espresso machine.

Customers enjoying an morning brew in the sun.

What a way to start the day with the scent of coffee in the air and the sounds of the sea lapping on the shore.

The cart is under the big pohutukawa at the top of the green space near the kitchen block. Come on over, get yourself a coffee and enjoy the view.

The cart’s open for coffee till about 10am when Dion moves on to stand up paddle boarding tours.

Pete takes over the reins in the afternoon.

In the afternoons Pete the whitebaiter takes over the cart reins.

From 4pm onwards it’s your chance to get a whitebait sammie, made with the Coast’s finest.

If whitebait’s not your thing Pete also whips up a mean frankfurter. 

Punakaiki moves into dark times!

Friday, December 18th, 2020

Westland petrel chicks are leaving the nest for the first time between November and January and can be disorientated by lights and poor weather at the very start of their long journey to South America.

90% of petrels found downed due to disorientation by lights are fledglings. Tragically, many are disorientated by vehicle or street lights and come down on roads. Black birds on a black road at night are highly likely to be involved in a collision and are often killed. They also need height to launch themselves, so if they come down on the road, they are likely to be stranded.

NZ Transport Agency have recognised this issue and have agreed to trial the switching off of Punakaiki street lights on SH6 for the most critical period, 8th November to 8th January.

Punakaiki Road where lights will be turned off. Photo: Richard Rossiter

You can also help!

If you are on coast roads, particularly around Punakaiki, during November, December and/or January, but also again in March/April, and especially at night, please keep your eyes out for these large black seabirds.

The Department of Conservation has produced some guidance so that you can help.

First of all, if you live in the Punakaiki/Barrytown area, avoid leaving outdoor lights on and close curtains and blinds at night.  For the benefit of these and other birds such as penguins, keep dogs secure at home.

Secondly, if you find a stranded petrel:

  • If possible, move them away from danger – off the road in particular if safe to do so.  Take care as they have a nasty bite, so gently put a towel over them or use gloves – or phone the 0800 DOC Hot line, 0800 362 468 for assistance.
  • Place the bird in large cardboard box or similar with air holes and…
  • If you’re in the Punakaiki area, take to the petrel drop off boxes at DOC’s Punakaiki Visitor Centre, and call 03 7311 895 if after hours and leave a message noting where and when found etc.
  • If further away, phone 0800 DOCHot so that DOC can arrange collection.
  • Do not attempt to release the bird yourself.  Birds need to be checked by a DOC ranger to ensure they are in good health prior to release.

Thank you for helping these wonderful birds – birds that only breed in this area on the West Coast.