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Celebrating 25 years of caring for our coast

An example of the state of the region's sand dunes before Coast Care work began. Mount Maunganui beach front 1994. Images: Bay of Plenty Regional Council/Supplied.

Volunteers and key supporters of the Coast Care Bay of Plenty programme celebrated 25 years of restoring and protecting our region’s sand dunes on Sunday.

The occasion was marked by the unveiling of a new commemorative sign by Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Andrew von Dadelszen at the Mount Maunganui main beach, followed by speeches from key Coast Care founders.

Coast Care Regional Co-ordinator Paul Greenshields reflected on the significance of the day.

“In the past 25 years more than 300,000 volunteer hours have helped to plant 1.5 million sand dune plants across the Bay of Plenty region, making it one of the largest and most successful dune restoration programme in New Zealand,” he says.

The Coast Care Bay of Plenty group was formed in 1994 and early projects included clearing Sydney Golden wattle from the Mount Maunganui beachfront and helping Waihi Beach residents restore the dunes after an ocean storm resulted in waves surging 80 metres inland.

Since then the programme has grown and now helps look after and plant more than 156km of coastline across the Bay of Plenty.

Dune restoration work completed since 1994 included weed clearance, restricting dune access and planting of native sand dune plants has resulted in a healthy and functioning dune.

Paul highlighted that central to Coast Care is a community-based partnership programme which connects local communities, care groups and schools from Waihi all the way around to the East Cape.

“Crucial to the ongoing success of Coast Care is the contribution made by volunteers,” he says.

“Whether it’s individuals turning up for planting days, schools and kindergartens including dune restoration in their curriculum or businesses donating staff hours, Coast Care represents the epitome of people getting involved to make a difference.”

Coast Care Bay of Plenty is co-ordinated by Bay of Plenty Regional Council with support from Tauranga City Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Whakatane District Council, Opotiki District Council, and the Department of Conservation.

The new commemorative sign marking 25 years of Bay of Plenty Coast Care.

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