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Wa i n u i B e a c h • M a ko r o r i • S p o n g e B ay M A G A Z I N E


Free to every home at the beach

| norfolk pines’ last stand | wainui’s first olympian?

Weddings: Page 16

| post reticulation submission blues | your septic tank and you | keeping up with mrs jones

Surfing: Page 40

The Day The Whales Died Baby Boom: Page 18

PremierE Issue: 44 pages of news, views and infor mation

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Delivered free to every home from Sponge Bay to Makorori. Published four times a year. .................................. Published and printed by Gray Clapham Design Arts

.................................. EDITORIAL MANAGER Gray Clapham 90 Moana Road Wainui Beach Gisborne Phone 868 0240 Fax 867 7010 ALL LETTERS, ARTICLES & CORRESPONDENCE TO

.................................. ADVERTISING Gray Clapham Phone 868 0240 Fax 867 7010

.................................. All issues will be archived after publication on the website


views and opinions

4 A community forum. Email views and opinions to what’s up

6 All the news. Look who turned up at rugby training – Wainui school kids have an All Black show them a few moves. A proposed national standard for septic tanks? Do we really want to see the Norfolk Pines removed from the beachfront? No 50kmh speed limit along Moana Road. A walkway under the Okitu Bridge, who’s excellent idea was that? And, at long last, safety railings on the bridge, was that overdue or what? Local boy Mike King’s big push to make the New Zealand bobsled team for the next Winter Olympics. All about the new Wainui Store. The Tsunami Bar is on the market. Wainui school old boy Kurt Mastrovich is flying high and Ray Morgan’s mean, keen and ready to clean.

wedding bells & beach babes

15 Find out who’s been exchanging vows lately and meet the new kids on the block. our issues

19 Post Reticulation Submission Blues A look back at the sewerage reticulation saga. We won the battle, but now it’s time to front up to sorting out a sustainable future with our on-site waste water systems. We look at the GDCs suggestions as to how this can be achieved and plans to set up a “collaboration”

23 Your septic tank and you: living with your on-site system It’s one of your most important and expensive chattels. But how much do you really know about your septic tank. Practical advice from the experts about how to live a long and happy life with your on-site system.

our history

26 The day the whales died On a stormy March day in 1970 59 sperm whales swam into the shallows at the northern end of Wainui Beach and died in a seething, bleeding mass. It was a tragic event that has become part of the history of Wainui Beach.

our people

30 Keeping up with Mrs Jones The story of Muriel Jones, the First Lady of the Beach. She’s been on this Earth for 82 years and for most of that time she’s been doing things to help other people. We look back at a remarkable life.

our community

35 School, club and organisation news. Let us know about your group. small adverts

37 Tradespeople, local businesses, notices. Historical photographs and assistance courtesy Tairāwhiti Museum

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our surf

48 Wave Rave with Kelly Ryan. Surf stories, results and what the groms are up to.


Publisher’s Comment | by Gray Clapham

Out of the sand and into the fire

During the Wainui Beach Reticulation Submissions Hearings a Gisborne Herald headline reported: “Wainui has woken up.” It went on to say: “Okitu resident Gray Clapham told district councillors during submissions on the annual plan yesterday, that proposed reticulation and the uncertainty of costs to homeowners had woken up the seaside community. “That was reflected in the hundreds of submissions received from Wainui residents, he said. We are serious about Wainui’s future.” Well, I don’t know why they picked me out, but I do think the reticulation issue was most certainly a wake up call. Wainui homeowners opened their eyes to the realisation that they weren’t actually in control of their futures. We were faced with rates increases of unprecedented proportions. Many may have been forced to leave the beach. People who had been quietly going about their lives were suddenly shaken awake and were being told: “If you can’t bite the bullet, you might have to leave.” I was also quoted in the Herald (unwittingly) as saying I had decided to “pull my head out of the sand”. I am not sure whether this referred to the sand on the beach, or the sand in the bunkers at Poverty Bay — but either way it was a bit of an embarrassing confession. But it did wake me up. For several years I have been meaning to revive this community news publication. Some may remember the Wainui mini-magazines I published in the early and mid 1990s. Beachside was printed through 1994, then revived again as Beachlife in 1996. They were well-received and a great success, but time-consuming (there was no email then, can you believe it?) and not-so-costeffective at a time when I was trying to build a new business. Eventually the next issue was late, and then as time wore on, remained unpublished. So here we are, 12 years on, and I have decided to “pull my head out of the sand” and give it another lash. A lot has changed at Wainui over that 12 years — and, in other ways, much has stayed the same. We went on a rollercoaster ride through the “new millennium” and then were immediately whisked away on the ferris wheel of the coastal real estate boom. One day someone decided that a sea view, or even the sniff of a sea view, had “value”. The rest is history. For those who weren’t that fussed about Wainui living, and who decided to sell up and move on, it was a windfall. For those who were working towards a move to the beach it was “the end of a dream”. For those who had no intention of leaving, it was exciting to watch — albeit unsettling. “What do you reckon your place is worth now?” was the conversation starter at most social gatherings. “How much would it take for you to sell?” someone would ask. “We have no intention of selling, but if someone knocked on the door and offered me a million, I reckon I’d take it,” was often the reply.

Then people were being offered a million dollars and after that it became a little boring if you weren’t “on the market”. Then just as suddenly it was all over. Or so it appears for the moment. While Wainui has established itself as a “sought after” location, real estate price expectations have certainly reversed. You can almost hear the community taking its first real breath in seven or so years. And then along came the reticulation proposal which, after years of uncertainty, was suddenly thrust upon us as an almost done deal. Suddenly we had something to really worry about, rather than how to spend the millions we might make on our properties. And, while the real estate boom, in hindsight seemed to separate and isolate the community, the reticulation issue reunified and refocused us. Or most of us. I am talking about the 416 people who went to the trouble to write detailed and often heartfelt submissions against the proposal. While there must be those who are annoyed that we won’t have city sewerage and water connections in the near future, the submissions against the proposal gave a head count, an incidental consensus of what this community is thinking and feeling. The submissions delved way deeper than the virtues and technicalities of reticulation. There emerged the outline of a “mission statement” from the Wainui community. People were referring to “our village”, our “old people”, our “children, our “futures”. They spoke of their desire to retain a close and caring community with a diverse population. People were saying they were wary of new development, that high density housing was not necessarily progress, that Wainui was not “all about coastal real estate”. It was, possibly, a blood-letting in the wake of the real estate boom. A chance to say: We choose to live here for reasons other than real estate investment: the surf, the beach, the rural outlook, the quiet streets, the social life, the sense of community. There was re-assertation of identity. We stood up and said: “Hey, this is our place, this is where we live, so bugger off.” So that’s what this publication is really about. A celebration of that identity. And a vehicle for community focus and reflection and, hopefully, an intelligent read and a whole lot of fun. So, here we go with the first issue, or actually, the very late arrival of the next issue of Beach/Life magazine. Please help me with it. The pages are open for the whole community to utilise. In this new age of instant communication by email it will be so much easier, than it was before, to send in articles and news items for this magazine. With the community’s help Beach/Life will celebrate all our small and major successes, help air the big issues, go in search of the facts, champion the causes, and do all those things a vibrant community publication should do.

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Septic tank tips wanted What about including a Healthy Septic Tank Tips column in Beach/Life – with people sharing the tips they have grown up with or learnt from experience. I was taught as a kid by my mother and grandmother never to pour Dettol solution down the plughole after bathing cuts, and thus always to use a bowl for the Dettol solution and never the bathroom basin or bath. Likewise when Napisan came along. And we were told not to pour milk down the sink either, unless maybe if we put heaps of water down with it. I have absolutely no idea why - will ask my 80 year old Mum! JENNIE HARRE HINDMARSH EDITOR: Good idea. It would also be great to get a list of suggested septic tank friendly detergents, soap powders, bath soap, etc. Readers – please email your Healthy Septic Tank Tips to

Become a Beach/Life voluntary subscriber and help Wainui’s Michael King become our first ever Olympic athlete. See page 15.

views and opinions Send you views and opinions to

A local issue, but a global perspective Like most or possibly all who were involved in the process of stopping the reticulation proposal I am happy with the outcome. Looking back on the whole thing now it is hard to believe how all consuming the thing was for a few months. I feel we not only achieved the result we wanted but we also won well. We persuaded Council with the merits of our argument and have emerged with good relationships intact. It was my first foray into politics of any kind and on balance I found it interesting and worthwhile. It was especially interesting reading the views of others (many of whom I had never met) and seeing the issue through their eyes. The business at hand now is for all of us to ‘walk the talk’ by working out practical steps to sustainably manage our environment. I have looked over draft recommendations from GDC and feel comfortable with most of them. The concern some of us had was that of winning a Pyrrhic victory whereby the imposed conditions would have been worse than the original proposal. I am confident that this will not be the case. While there are still details to work out, the spirit of the recommendations was positive and most of the points were those many of us had suggested in our submissions. Now that people have the certainty, it becomes worth their while to do the right thing and be good stewards of our local environment. While we all had varying reasons for our opposition, there were several strong themes which came out in the submissions (yes, I have read them all). The clearest to emerge was that we all dearly value what we have here. We like the absence of ‘development’ and we like the diversity of the community. Many residents made reference to other beachside locations that they hoped Wainui would not become (the McMansion-ed variety). Next of course was the financial impact on the lives of a large proportion of residents earning less than was popularly supposed by the wider community. I think this genuinely surprised a lot of councillors. The rising coastal land values from 2002-2005 had us all in the ‘rich’ category, regardless of individual circumstances. Probably the aspect that pleased me the most from a personal position was finally getting some traction on the stormwater link to beach erosion. It is one thing to buy on the beachfront and accept the risks that your property may get washed away, but it is quite another when Council sanctions activities which exacerbate that risk. We have a delicate balance to maintain and it is a relief that there are now plans to mitigate some of problems created with previous stormwater management (which was basically, get a really big pipe and run it out to the beach as directly as possible). Another recurrent theme was that of sustainability. It was impressive to see that so many in the community were in tune with the wider issues here regarding the total ecological footprint of the reticulation option, as opposed to well managed on-site systems. I believe energy will be the big issue of the next few decades. Large scale, centralised infrastructure projects will no longer stack up as well as they have while energy has been relatively cheap. Rainwater, gravity fed into tanks and disposed of on site, has in my view, a more sustainable future than the energy and capital intensive centralised model. If not being able to water lawns, wash cars or get our shirts spotlessly white is the price, then I am more than happy to pay it. World wide, the concept that there are limits to growth and that we need to limit our own impact on the environment is becoming main stream. It is no longer the preserve of the hippies or the greenies to ‘step more lightly’ on the Earth. It will be forced on all of us soon enough with electricity and fuel costs anyway. I am choosing my words carefully in this section because in my recent experience, this is an unpopular world view. It is however the emerging reality. The era of cheap energy and resources is over and our lifestyles will have to change. Peak oil (the point where demand exceeds available supply) appears to be happening now. This will profoundly alter the economics of the way we inhabit the landscape and the way we look to the future. The Earth’s population has more than doubled in my lifetime and the middle classes of China and India can now afford the lifestyles that we have been enjoying and showcasing for the last 40-50 years. While I am not suggesting it is time yet to go back to growing our own food and prepare for the apocalypse, the small victory of retaining some on-site life support is especially satisfying in this context. Andrew donaldson

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views and opinions Send you views and opinions to

There are many things at Wainui and Makorori we need to know more about. There are issues, problems, things that aren’t always quite right in this little patch of coast we like to think of as pretty special. Things that could be made better. What sort of things? There’s a long list really, if you use your imagination. • One thing that has come out of the submissions hearings is that beach people like to think of themselves as a “bit green” in the eco-friendly meaning of the word. There seems to be a feeling out there that we could make the beach some sort of environmentally sensitive, earthcaring enclave. Not a bad aspiration but we certainly have a lot of work to do in that direction. The septic tank problem is discussed elsewhere in this issue, but it will be, and is, one of the biggest issues we all face. • Forestry trucks! In our next issue (December) we’ll be looking at the issue of road safety on Highway 35, forestry trucks and timber flow in general. What’s the forecast? Just how many trucks can we expect to see (and hear) rattling through our (quiet) beachside community. • Then there’s the erosion of the beach front. A huge issue and a huge threat. This is such a long and on-going saga I think most of us, those not immediately threatened by the encroaching sea, have almost forgotten about it. Winter, as usual, has delivered some huge southerly seas, sweeping away acres of sand overnight, tugging away at the land’s edge. What is the reality of beach erosion today at Wainui? What’s the latest on this front? What will global warming do to our beachfront landscape? Another major concern this magazine hopes to look into in future issues. • What’s the future of Lysnar Reserve? How fortunate we are that the Lysnar family left this strip of undeveloped coastal dune land overlooking the sea. What a treasure it is. Imagine if Moana Road was hidden from the ocean behind a string of beach houses similar to Wairere Road. In the past is was just good enough that it was there as common land that anyone could utilise with little restriction. Some dumped their lawn clippings in the dunes, people planted wild flowers and exotic trees. Kids charged over

As good as it gets? We don’t think so ... the place on trail bikes. Today, everything has to be governed, everything has to be correct. There is a new management plan for the reserve. The plan, in its own words, “has been prepared to assist in the dayto-day management of the reserve, whilst meeting long term management objectives. It sets out a framework to provide for passive recreational use and access to Wainui Beach, while enhancing the fragile foredune landscape”. Work on implementing this plan is quietly beginning with the removal of “exotic plant pests” from the reserve. See our full story on the removal of the Phoenix Palms and Norfolk Pines on page 8. • For so long the beaches have been left to exist “naturally”. But you could also say they have been left to deteriorate “naturally”. The beaches today are very different from what they would have been before roads, housing, farming and tree felling. Many parts of our coastline, from Sponge Bay to Tatapouri, are in a sort of benign neglect as a legacy to human occupation over the past 100 years. Can we restore these places? Should we tidy them up? Tuahine Headland is a fast eroding piece of geography. Must it continue to crumble into the sea? Can anything really be done to stop the headland from eroding through? What new forces of the nature will Wainui face up to without its protective embrace? • The Makorori Point lookout area is another place that’s long needed tidying up. This neglected, pot-holed, often-adumping ground, commands one of New Zealand’s iconic ocean views. (The whole world saw it in Whale Rider!) Yet, close-up, it’s dangerous and an eyesore. A favourite place for tossing over empty kina shells, fish carcasses and paua guts, not to mention the odd car body. Anywhere else on Earth it would be a heritage site. Who actually owns this lookout? Can anything be done to make it a decent place for people to pull over and watch the surf, view the sunrise, take photos of the sweep of Makorori? Those who have travelled the east coast of Australia will know that such places, hundreds of lovely

headlands overlooking the coast, are well looked after and landscaped to enhance their natural beauty. • What about the walkway and cycle track? We’ve been going on about this for over 20 years. I’m worried I’ll be too old to use it, if it’s ever realised. It would seem such a simple thing; a strip of pavement from the city boundary at Rutene Road to Oneroa Road. It is genuinely needed. We love to walk and we love to bike to town. But the strip of Highway 35 from Sponge Bay to Oneroa Road is really too dangerous for walking and cycling, and there have been deaths to prove it. Where is the cycle track and walkway scheme stuck at the moment? The new Sponge Bay development has allowed for a three metre strip of reserve land along its boundary to accommodate such a track. Let’s go, let’s get it done. Petrol prices are rising daily, we need to get on our bikes again. • On the subject of development – how will new housing development continue at the beach in the wake of the rejection of the reticulation proposal? Do we or don’t we want to see Wainui grow, have more houses, more people, maybe a viable shopping centre one day? Are we, in fact, being selfish if we don’t want to allow others to enjoy life at the beach? Is there a compromise between the Papamoa experience and what we have at the moment? All interesting issues. All areas of much potential debate. That’s been the purpose of this column; to kick-start an era of discussion, healthy argument and community awareness through the pages of this magazine. Communication is much easier these days, we are in the middle of a communication revolution in fact. I invite all residents to get on their keyboards to write and email. All communications will be treated with care, respect and given space. The beach is a great place to live, and it could be so much better. Let’s get some things done. EDITOR

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what’s up? Proposed national environmental standard for on-site wastewater systems

Back Row (right to left): Rico Gear, Michael Bloxham, Tame Curtis, Sefton Harrison, Kosta Atsalis. Rear: Karl Geiseler, (Assistant Coach). Middle Row: Luke Simperingham, Jeremy Gray, Kelly Geiseler, Ben McCulloch, (captain) Front Row: Jacques Klavs, (vice captain), Leroy Shaw, Jonti Cox, Kobe Johnson Not Pictured: Wiremu King-Taufa, Wayne Bloxham, (Coach).

Wayne’s Warriors catch All Black attention It’s not often that an All Black turns up to your training session when you’re a primary school kid, but that’s exactly what happened for the OBM Wainui Warriors under 10-year-olds’ rugby team last term. Leanne Harrison of Douglas Street, one of the boys’ parents, happened to approach Rico Gear, who was home from England recently to visit friends and family. When asked to make a special visit to see her son’s team, Rico didn’t hesitate to accept the offer and also coopted his friend and Poverty Bay legend Kahu Tamatea, (prior to his move to Ireland), to help take the team through some All Black drills. Coach Wayne Bloxham described the reaction on the boys’ faces as: “Priceless – mouths wide open, absolutely awestruck!” It was a great thrill for the boys (and parents) and testament to Rico’s great character putting the time back in with school kids in the district. Rico commented how quick the boys picked up on the drills and commented that they were advanced for their years. Playing under the Banner of the OBM Club, the Wainui Warriors have been lucky to field their entire team from Wainui School. Team unity is strong – they’re all mates and their squad has largely remained the same for the past four seasons. The entire time they’ve had the benefit of dedicated father and coach, Wayne Bloxham, who’s done an incredible job with these boys. Wayne makes the drive from Whangara twice a week for practice and, on the occasion when Wayne can’t make it down from the farm, he’s brought the team to him – an afternoon in the yards, drafting sheep never hurt rugby players! In the competition games, Wainui remained unbeaten until a recent deadlock-breaker against OBM Crusaders, played as a curtain raiser at Rugby Park recently. Only a try in the final minute of the game resulted in a 10-5 loss to the beach side. Wayne, who has been short-listed as one of six Gisborne finalists out of 3800 nationally for the New Zealand Volunteer Coach of the year award, modestly credits much of the success to the boy’s fitness. But sideline observers have noticed the ability of the boys to play as a cohesive unit and more structured rugby is what has so far distinguished them from their opponents. However Wayne is credited with more than just the consistent results. What is more pleasing is his strict code of sportsmanship and inspiring of the boys to play as a team. Without a doubt there are a couple in the team destined for greater playing honours, but Wayne has instilled positive team values in all the boys, a sense of discipline and a genuine enthusiasm for rugby based on his own passion for the game. So if you’re driving past the Wainui School on a cold, wet Monday or Friday evening and wondering who the dedicated team are training under instructions from a man wearing a “swandri” and farmer’s hat — toot your horn or wave out, because now you’re know it’s Wayne’s Warriors! 6 | beach/life

The Government is considering a national environmental standard for the inspection of septic tank systems. The proposal is that regional councils will require property owners in certain areas to hold a current “warrant of fitness” (WOF) for their septic tank system. To obtain a WOF, a system would be required to pass an inspection every three years. Regional councils would identify the areas where the standard would apply. The Ministry for the Environment will be running a series of public workshops to explain the proposed standard. MFE says it has been estimated that in some regions at least 20 per cent of homes rely upon on-site wastewater treatment. The MFE website says for the proposed standard to operate effectively there needs to be an adequate pool of suitably skilled inspectors. The mechanics of just how the inspectors would be involved in the national environmental standard process have been purposely left open to allow flexibility for councils in terms of how they choose to approach this. GDC chief executive Lindsay McKenzie told Beach/Life the MFE proposal doesn’t fundamentally change anything with regard to a sewage disposal planning partnership with Wainui. “The need to plan/partner is probably more compelling than before. The National Environmental Standards will set some bottom lines but it is still important to get community support for what the NES requires, or something better, if desired. “Our commitment to following up with the Wainui community is on a broader, sustainability platform anyway, so waste disposal is just one part.” Any person can make a submission on the proposed standard. Submissions must be forwarded to the Ministry for the Environment, PO Box 10362, Wellington or by email to in time to be received no later than 5.00pm on 26 September 2008. Go to website.

what’s up?

A MATURE PHOENIX PALM IN Lysnar Reserve, just opposite the Douglas Street tee-junction with the Highway, was cut down recently – the beginning of a systematic “phasing out” of exotic plants from the reserve. Why was it cut down? GDC’s community facilities asset manager Terry McMillan says the tree was removed as part of the WD Lysnar and Wainui Reserve Management Plan to remove “exotic” trees from all reserves at Wainui Beach. This was not a one-off action as, following the intent of the Reserve Management Plan, all Canary Island date palms (Phoenix canariensis), also known as Phoenix palms, will be removed from Lysnar Reserve over time, probably within the next two years. Some may be transplanted, if possible. So, what other “exotic” trees will be removed. What’s the fate of Okitu’s iconic Norfolk pine trees? The Norfolk pines at the “Pines” will remain, but all the others will be removed, over the next five years, says Terry McMillan. This should not come as a surprise, he says. The WD Lysnar and Wainui Reserve Management Plan was prepared over a 12 month period and widely consulted on. It was released in draft and received about 200 submissions. These were considered by Council, the Plan amended and finally adopted earlier this year. The Management Plan notes that the reserves are currently home to a range of introduced plants such as Norfolk pines, Canary Island palms, agapanthus, ginger and aloe plants.

EXOTIC PESTS: At least another half dozen Canary Island palms will be “phased out” from the Reserve over the next couple of years.

Exotic trees to be phased out of Wainui reserves

BELEAGUERED ICONS: A view to the eroding lighthouse framed by a lone Norfolk pine. The GDC’s Lysnar and Wainui Reserve Management Plan will see the singular pine tree removed. Pohutukawa trees will remain even though they are not originally “native” to the area. Pohutakawa trees were planted at the southern end of the beach over 50 years ago for ‘beautification’ purposes. Later, in 1977, Wainui Lions Club planted Pohutakawa trees on the Moana Road beachfront as far as the Chalet and, in the late 1980s, Project Crimson planted Pohutakawa trees further northward. The concept is to leave all reserves at Wainui Beach in a “natural state”. The Management Plan points to community feedback during submissions which supported retaining Lysnar Reserve in its “natural state”. “Natural state” has been interpreted by GDC staff and the community as long stretches of dunes and dune grasses. Therefore, to achieve this “natural state” exotic species are to be removed throughout the reserve using a “phased approach”. The main recreation areas of Pines, Hamanatua Stream, Wainui Surf Club, Stockroute, Chalet and Northern CarparkWhales Graves will be the priority areas. This means the overall eradication of all exotic plant “pests” along the entire length of the reserve. Plant pests ear-marked for removal include not only the Norfolk pines and the Phoenix palms but also “weed infestations” such as

rank grass, agapanthus, pampas grass, aloe and wild ginger. The only exception are the exotic Norfolk Pines at the “Pines” dune-top, where the pine trees are a cultural landscape feature and provide stability on the dune-face. However, if any of these trees poses a threat to public safety, they will be removed and not replanted. Instead, indigenous vegetation suitable for erosion control, such as flaxes will be planted. Ear-marked for clearing is the grove of exotic plants opposite 125 Moana Road. Residents will be advised of this and will be offered the chance to take plants for replanting in their own gardens. The Council plans to provide Wainui residents with information on “appropriate indigenous species for coastal planting and erosion control” and to invite residents to join a community care initiative to stabilise the dunes in front of their property. This “dune care programme” would be extended along the length of the Wainui Beach foreshore with near-by residents being invited to participate in planting programmes. This would entail the new planting of indigenous species as appropriate along eroding dune foreshore areas (grasses), and small gully slips, waterway and riparian margins (including flax, toi toi and grasses). For the eroding steep country of the

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Makorori Headland, suggested indigenous plants include Tawapou, Whau, Hebe Tairawhiti, Taupata (coprosma repens), Karaka and Pohutakawa. Puriri and Kohekohe could be put in at a later stage. The Council will maintain, trim and thin new trees and young seedling Pohutakawas under established canopies while retaining resident’s “view shafts”. Priority will be given to removing exotic plants from the Whales Grave site and replacing these with indigenous plants such as cabbage trees, flax and karo. Beach/Life made a visual inventory of Phoenix palms and Norfolk pines currently thriving within the reserve: From the north – there is a row of six Norfolk pines at the north end of the beach at the base of the headland. There are three healthy, established Norfolk pines within the fenced area of the whale’s grave site. There a two singular mature pines opposite 84 and 87 Moana Road, there are also two Phoenix palms in this general area. There a two more pines and two Phoenix palms at the north end of the Chalet car park. A further two more pine trees and two more Phoenix palms sprout from the bushy grove opposite the Chalet. A large and obvious Phoenix palm stands close to the edge of the highway opposite 44 Moana Road. There are three pines between the Okitu Store and the Pines car park. Lining the sand dunes within the Pines car park are a line of six more pines (which are so far exempt from removal). There are a dozen staked new Norfolk pine plantings in a regrowth zone closer to the road, some now a high as five metres. There are two pines in the Wainui surf club car park area, planted by club members in the 1980s. There are two more across the stream at the south edge of the Okitu Lagoon car park. • The Canary Island Date Palm Tree (Phoenix canariensis) are native to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northeast Africa. They have become popular landscape trees in warm climates around the world and, when pruned and trimmed, can grow as high as 100 feet. • The Norfolk pine (Araucaria heterophylla), is not a true pine tree and is in fact a native of the South Pacific. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island Pine implies, the tree is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The genus Araucaria occurs across the South Pacific.

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No 50km speed restriction likely for Moana Road

SAFE CROSSING: Bonnie Grealish of Lysnar Street leads sister Meg, with Jo and Tadhg in tow, across the Hamanatua bridge at Okitu. The speed limit is to remain at 70kmh. A local petition calling for a 50 kilometre per hour speed restriction along Moana Road has been unsuccessful – but the petition has prompted Transit New Zealand to look at placing traffic and pedestrian safety measures along that suburban stretch of Highway 35. Work on safety railings and a new underbridge footpath at the Hamanatua Bridge are a result of that petition, says Transit NZ regional network manager, Gordon Hart. However, the speed restriction along Moana Road will remain at 70kmh. Mr Hart says the petition was taken seriously and focused attention on the safety of Moana Road, but it just didn’t meet the criteria that is required for a speed reduction. “It’s not the end of the equation though,” he told Beach/Life. “Things do change and we will keep monitoring the situation. It’s not just a matter of sticking to some rule book on this, we have to use commonsense.” He says one of the tests of the suitability for imposing a reduced speed restriction on a stretch of highway is if there can be a “realistic expectation of observance” of that restriction by motorists. He points out that there are constant and numerous requests for similar speed restriction reductions from all over New Zealand. However, he says, initiatives are already underway to make Moana Road safer and to reinforce the existing 70kmh restriction. This summer, what Transit NZ calls “threshold gateways” will be erected at each entrance to the 70kmh stretch area. These are large signs which provide

a visual narrowing of the highway to encourage drivers to slow down. Threshold signs create a “gateway” effect which also highlights the change in the speed limit. The other initiative has already been completed and well received by the Okitu community. That is the pedestrian safety work around the Hamanatua Bridge. The construction of a looping paved pathway from the land side of the bridge walkway, under the bridge and into the Okitu Lagoon carpark, avoiding the necessity for pedestrians to cross the highway, came as a welcome surprise to residents recently. Then followed the swift erection of crash barriers and safety fences on both sides of the bridge. Wainui school principal Nolian Andrews says the work at the bridge has been welcomed by the school which actively encourages children to walk to school. The safety issue of Okitu children crossing the busy highway to get to the seaward side of the road and then crossing the unprotected bridge was of major concern. Okitu parents who walk their children to school are very happy with the new safety measures. “It’s about time,” seems to be the consensus. The prospect of being caught mid-bridge with a pushchair and two school kids, facing a fully laden logging truck doing 70kmh has long been a parents’ nightmare. The “threshold gateway sign” before the bridge on the town side is hoped to reinforce the speed limit change from 100 to 70kmh, further enhancing the safety of crossing the Hamanatua Stream.

Family dining at Wainui Beach’s bar and brasserie

Market Fresh Fish

Tsunami Pizzas (Dine In or Takeaway)


Large 18.00 Small 9.50

Beer battered or pan fried served with golden fries, garden salad and house made tartar sauce

> Gourmet Meat Lovers Salami, chorizo & cured ham, herbed potato, onion jam & fresh herbs

Scotch Fillet (200g)

> Vegetarian Roast pumpkin, feta, sun dried tomato, pine nuts, baby spinach & balsamic reduction


Cooked to your liking served on creamy mashed potato or steak fries, winter vegetables with a red wine and peppercorn jus

> Tomato Cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, capers, Spanish onion, fresh basil & Parmesan cheese

Primo Beef Burger (180g)

> Smoked Salmon Goats cheese, Spanish onion, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach & capers


Served with crispy bacon, tasty cheese, salad, tomato and home made relish. With fries or kumara wedges on the side


Tsunami Chicken Burger

Garlic and herbed bread > 7.50


Skewers: > 11.50

Tasty pieces of grilled chicken, crispy bacon, brie, cranberry sauce, salad, tomato and aioli in a warm bun with fries or kumara wedges Lamb Shanks

> Saki and ginger marinated beef with sweet soy > Chilli and garlic prawn with lime & coriander sauce

1 shank 17.50 | 2 shanks 25.00

Slow braised with seasonal vegetables, red wine and Italian herbs served on creamy mashed potato The Tsunami Antipasto Platter (to share)


Kumara wedges with housemade aioli > 8.00

6.50 each

Chunky potato fries with tomato sauce > 6.50 Crispy limed spiced squid with dipping sauce and side salad > 12.50

All 12.00

> Warm sticky date pudding, caramel sauce and vanilla icecream > Chocolate brownie, Kapiti triple chocolate ice ream, chocolate sauce > Oven baked apple slice with warm thick and creamy vanilla custard 15% surcharge applies all public holidays

Bar Snacks

Bread and dips Warm selection of oven fresh breads & house made dips > 10.00

Vegetarian meal options on request Desserts

Crispy limed spiced squid with dipping sauce and side salad > 12.50

Garlic and herbed bread > 7.50

A luxurious spread of cured meats, seafood and New Zealand cheeses, with by gourmet deli products, homemade dips and warm breads Sides Creamy mash, Seasonal vegetables, Green salad

Soup of the day with fresh bread > 10.50

Fisherman’s Basket > 12.50 Battered fish bites, prawn cutlets & squid rings served on a bed of golden fries with dipping sauces Green Salad > 6.50 A bowl of fresh mesclun & seasonal produce tossed in olive oil & balsamic vinaigrette

Winter Dining Specials: Monday Night Dine In Pizza: Buy one, get one free. Wednesday Nights: Children (Under 12) dine free.

Open 6 days (Mon-Sat) 4pm to late • PHONE 868 6828 beach/life | 9

Time for new owners to benefit from the makeover

what’s up?

daughter, Ruby Rose, and living in Douglas Street, Okitu, Wainui the tsunami bar and brasserie, Wainui’s popular bar Beach. and family dining restaurant is on the market. After two years in the With the guidance of the Tsunami Bar directors, Neil has helped ownership of Maurice Judd and Guy Rutledge and Ray and Gail steer the local bar and brasserie on a steady course where it is now Dalton, the partners say its time to realise the investment. well and truly serving the needs of both the The partners took over the former Sandbar local community and the travelling public. in late 2006 and have spent a great deal of As well as looking after the bar and time and money giving the Oneroa Road restaurant Neil has also had time to complete establishment a total makeover. a Certificate in Viticulture and Winemaking at A completely new kitchen, new bar and Tairawhiti Polytechnic’s Waimata Winery. serving facilities, new furnishings, new He hopes to do more study and pass more computer and security systems, a state-ofpapers first, so he can eventually become a the-art sound system – nothing was spared qualified winemaker. towards attaining the goal of a creating a bar Early attempts to set up the restaurant as and restaurant equal to Auckland’s best. a “fine dining” experience have been relaxed While on the market, the bar continues to and nowdays the bar is ticking over nicely operate and these days is run by manager as a “family” style dining experience with a Neil Aitkenhead. The Belfast born 35-year-old, menu and prices to reflect the needs of the married to a Gisborne girl, Amber Creswell, local community. now calls himself a Kiwi, and has been a real For the rest of the winter the Tsunami Bar bonus for the Tsunami Bar since he started as and Brasserie will be open six days a week, manager last January. Monday to Saturday, from 4pm. Winter dining Neil left the Emerald Isle ten years ago for incentives include Wednesday nights where a new life Down Under and ended up running children under 12 get to dine for free and on Kitty O’Shea’s Irish Bar in Wellington. Monday nights, dine-in pizzas are two for the It was here he met Amber Creswell, a price of one. Gisborne girl working in Wellington. Now they are married, with a lovely little three year old Tsunami Bar manager Neil Aitkenhead.

Wainui Beach’s reliable water supply DRIVER/OPERATIONS MANAGER: As a Wainui Beach homeowner, Greg Judd of Judd Water Supplies knows the importance of a reliable, clean source of household water for those times when the tanks run dry.

Call the big green truck! 15500 litres of quality city water per load.

WATER SUPPLIES 10 | beach/life

Phone 867 6028 Greg Judd Mobile 027 230 2464

our kids

Beach/Life plans to run regular stories about the success of our kids, at home and abroad. Send suggestions to

First officer Kurt flies the Indonesian skies

FLYING COLOURS: Kurt Mastrovich, son of Kevin and Jill, is a former Wainui School boy who dreamed of becoming an airline pilot and is now realising that dream in Indonesia.

Kurt Mastrovich was one of those boys who wanted to grow up to be a pilot. And guess what, he did. It’s not an easy career to chase. It’s expensive, it’s difficult and there are never any guarantees. But 23-year-old Kurt has recently landed a fulltime job flying for a commercial airline in Indonesia. This is his story. I had always been interested in flying And after visiting the flight deck on the way home from the 1999 Lytton High Japan-Malaysia trip I decided it was definitely what I wanted to do for a job. I went to Wainui Beach Primary School between 1990 and 1995. It was an awesome primary school and I remember being very upset at the prospect that I was going to have to go to another school as I got older. There were some great teachers; my first was Mrs Manning who later became the Principal. Other greats who I will not forget include Mrs Collier, Mr Parker, Mrs Bartje and Mrs Rowland. Wainui was very progressive. I was introduced to computers straight away with the school having an Amiga 500 in each classroom. Early on I joined the Computer Club and then began teaching other students how to use computers. After Wainui I went to Ilminster Intermediate and had to endure the pink shirts – which turned out to be quite liveable given 300 other students were wearing the same thing and then I went to Lytton High School from 1998, becoming Head Prefect in my final year. In 1999 I was went on a school trip to Japan and Malaysia, it was definitely a pivotal moment. I got to see a different part of the world and on the flight home got to sit up the “pointy end” with the pilots as we flew over Indonesia. In 2003 I began my Bachelor of Aviation at the Palmerston North campus of the Massey University School of Aviation. I didn’t actually do my first flight until then. During the three year degree I took 32 academic papers and also gained my Commercial Pilots Licence and Instrument Rating Privileges among other aviation qualifications. In 2007 I returned to the School of Aviation as a member of staff,

becoming the Operations Controller where I was responsible for the smooth running of a school that had 12 aircraft, 11 instructors and 100 students. In May this year I started working for an airline in Indonesia called Susi Air. I saw the job advertised on an Australian pilots union website. I am flying as a First Officer on Cessna’s top-of-the-line Grand Caravans which seat twelve passengers. Out of fifty pilots, most of whom are expatriates, I am one of seven New Zealanders. As First Officers we move around the bases to build experience in different environments. So far I have spent one month in Pangandaran, West Java, two months in Medan, North Sumatra, one month in Jakarta and I am now at our base in Sentani, Papua for a month. While our bases are all at major airports most of our destinations are small airports serving small communities. This gives us a lot of variety flying over large smog covered cities, across jungle, and hopping between small islands. Most legs are no longer than an hour. It’s an incredibly fun job and gives me a chance to travel the country and see the rest of Asia. With my student loan up around the $80,000 mark I was very fortunate to get my first flying job with only 240 hours total flying time. In New Zealand especially you need to have hundreds more hours to get into a flying job like this. I guess I always thought I would try to fly for big airlines like Air New Zealand but having been here for four months and really enjoying the flying and travelling I am not in such a rush anymore. At this stage I intend to stay here for a couple of years which will at least be enough time to get my captaincy and a decent amount of pilot-in-command hours on the aircraft.

beach/life | 11

Ray’s gone from clean to SuperClean

KEEN TO CLEAN: Ray Morgan demonstrates the efficiency of his new carpet cleaning business based around his mobile van and steam cleaning system. Ray Morgan is A very clean guy. Can’t get any dirt on this Douglas Street local. In fact he’s SuperClean. Ray and wife Bronwyn have been operating Ray Morgan Cleaning Services for 20 years now. And just recently they’ve started SuperClean, a sideline to their busy commercial cleaning business, with a stateof-the-art mobile, carpet and upholstery steam cleaning system. Like a lot of commercial cleaners Ray

started in the business after moonlighting to make extra income when the kids were young. He got to know the cleaning business, bought his own equipment, went out fulltime and now has a staff of eight looking after many of the big commercial cleaning contracts around the city. Noticing an increase in the number of requests for specialised carpet cleans, Ray decided earlier this year to invest in a dedicated carpet cleaning unit and so

what’s up? started a seperate business dedicated to this service. The result is Superclean and now Ray, in his brightly signwritten Superclean van, is a common sight to see heading in and out of the beach on jobs. The engine room of the new business is a Hydromaster Boxxer 421 truck-mounted steam cleaning unit. Worldwide this machine is considered the Rolls Royce of carpet cleaners. The compact 421 is a smooth, low noise, low vibration machine with exceptional cleaning performance. The unit’s adjustable heat feature allows fine-tuning from 160° to 240°F allowing for the safe cleaning of even delicate fabrics. The pressure can be dialed up to 1000 PSI when tile and grout cleaning or pressure washing is needed. The Hydromaster can also be used to remove water after flooding. As Ray’s website says: “Whether you’re moving into a new house, out of an old one, or looking to increase the value and protection of your rental property, SuperClean Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning Services has the knowledge and technology you need to ensure your carpets and upholstery receive the care and attention they deserve. Don’t risk your money on an inferior cleaning service – contact us today!”

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Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning Services

Call Ray Morgan 20 years experience in cleaning industry 10 years in carpets & upholstery

12 | beach/life

0800 000668

what’s up?

A treat in store at Wainui Beach The folks that brought you Café Ruba, and then Café Villaggio, now bring you The Wainui Store. And what a bonus to the beach the all new Wainui Store is! Experienced restaurateurs David and Amy Whitfield, with Amy’s brother Marcel Campbell, recently took on the lease of the Wainui Store in Oneroa Road and have since turned it into classic mix of local dairy, café, takeaway bar, fish and chip shop and gourmet food outlet. After selling both Café Ruba in Childers Road and Café Villaggio in the Ballance Street Village last year, David and Amy took some time out, went back to visit David’s family in England and sat around thinking about what to do on their return to Gisborne. As they live in Wheatstone Road, and the old Wainui Store was their local dairy, they began talking about what they could do with the shop if they were able to get the lease. Back home in March this year, Marcel also became enthusiastic about the concept of turning the dairy into a vibrant community store and takeaway food outlet. They approached the former owners who were happy to hand over the lease. The first thing they did was gut the building and renovate the interior into the bigger, brighter premises it now is. “We really thought hard about what the community would want and – as we were also customers – what we would want in a local store, apart from the usual milk, paper and bread,” says David. “While we’ve designed it and branded it to give off all the nice feelings of a classic Kiwi corner store, complete with scoop in the cone ice creams, we’ve added a few trendy extras like a commercial espresso coffee machine, and a takeaway food kitchen based on the technology and quality controls we used when running our restaurants.” David bought a ex-café espresso machine on Trade Me and has continued a long association with the Supreme coffee

BRIGHT AND CHEERFUL: Local dairy, fish and chip shop, burger bar, café, organic veges and gourmet items – there’s a lot going on at the new Wainui Store. brand. The result is top quality café coffee at the beach. The coffee is proving hugely popular with David saying they are now making more cups of coffee at Wainui on a weekly basis than they did at Café Ruba.

real meat sausages custom-made at the Ballance Street Butchery.

The Whitfields are also making use of their ties with the café industry by accessing a few wholesale gourmet food products, items you wouldn’t usually expect to find in a local dairy.

The two centimetre thick beef patties are grilled to perfection and added to the hot buns with local lettuce and garnishings including a tasty olive and tomato relish. The fish burgers are fresh whole tarahiki fillets with homemade aioli dressing. Paua, veggie and cheese burgers are menu options.

Items like pasta, risotto rice and olives are just a start to a growing line of delicatessen items. They’re also stocking organic vegetables and free range eggs. A Bose sound system wafting good music throughout the store is another little café extra. On the takeaway food side of the business, David says they have imported the same quality standards from their restaurant experiences, the difference being the food is wrapped in newspaper rather than served on plates. They use only soya oil for the deep fryer and this is changed daily. They’ve installed three-phase power so they can keep the heat up, which is of prime importance when frying. They buy fresh fish, usually locally caught tarakihi from Gisborne Fisheries, which is usually fresh off the boat. “It’s so fresh they’re often still filleting it when we go for supplies”, says David. The fish is served in either a batter made from Gisborne Gold beer or a mix of export quality crumbs with added seeds and spices. The chips are from the also bought locally and cooked in the very hot, neutral-flavoured soya oil. The hot dogs are

The hamburgers are a real treat too, created with a chef’s eye for both gourmet and classic Kiwi tastes.

The Wainui Store is open seven days from 7am. Monday and Tuesday to 7pm and Wednesday to Sunday to 8pm. The takeaway food bar is serving in the evenings only, Wednesday to Sunday, from 5pm. “At the moment this works best for us,” David says. “It means we can keep the quality under control. It’s difficult to keep a kitchen hot and ready all day just to make the odd burger and a punnet of chips. However we will look at opening longer as summer comes around. Another feature of the new Wainui Store is an outdoor seating and eating area on the beach side of the shop. This is still a work in progress and will be developed more into the summer months. So there it is. The all new, really cool, Wainui Store – espresso coffees, beerbattered fish and chips, custom-made hot dogs, organic vegetables – just another compelling reason to love living at the beach! Phone for takeaways: 867 8446.

beach/life | 13

Beach/Life plans to run regular stories about the success of our kids, at home and abroad. Send suggestions to

our kids

Our Mike’s big push for Olympic selection

OLYMPIC DREAMS: Michael King is training hard to make the New Zealand bobsled team for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

14 | beach/life

If Michael King’s training pays off over the next two years, Wainui Beach may very well be watching it’s first born-at-thebeach Olympic athlete competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Mike is vying to be selected as a final member of the four-man Kiwi bobsled team for the Vancouver Games. On September 4 he leaves for Canada with the 8-man selection squad for an intensive training camp, on actual ice for the first time, at the 1988 Winter Olympic Stadium in Calgary. Mike will then spend much of our summer commuting to the ice and snow of North America’s winter. They will be competing in a series of events starting with the America’s Cup in November, followed by World Cup and European Cup events and then the World Championships at Lake Placid, New York, at the end of February. Mike, now aged 25, son of Steve and Sue King, got into the sport via his Gisborne friend, Otago University student Michael Coutts, who has already represented the country at various international competitions, including the junior world championships, in the oneman bobsled “skeleton” discipline. He trialed with over 70 others as part of a SPARC talent identification project that has the aim of the Zealand bobsledding team making the top 10 in the 2010 Winter Olympics. The final eight will be reduced to four before the Olympic Games. If successful, Mike will have the “second man” position in the team, the man behind the driver. Mike’s coach is bobsledding legend, Gerd Grimme, former head coach of the Canadian team, who has also coached and directed bobsleigh for the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. Weight and speed are the key to Mike’s position, attributes gained from both surf life saving, particularly beach sprinting, and rugby. The Wainui surf lifesaver and HSOB premier rugby team member has so far reached the 106 kilogram mark of his aim to get to 112kg. Mike, who went to Wainui School, gained a sports degree from Waikato University and then trained to be a secondary school teacher at Victoria. He returned home recently after five years working as a PE teacher in Wellington and last January was married to Cate Busby, daughter of Bill and Meg Busby of Tokomaru Bay (see our weddings page). They live in Lloyd George Road. Cate, a clothing designer at New Wave Surfboards, is fully supportive of Mike’s Olympic bid and the couple is looking forward to possibly combining a bit of OE while Mike’s attends events in Europe. Though the squad get sick of the “Cool Runnings” comments, Mike admits it is a pretty similar scenario. A bunch of guys with no money, little experience, with big dreams and a former world famous coach. On the subject of “no money”, Mike says thanks to Brent Simpson at Charcoal Chicken who is donating him $1 from every bottle of Powerade sold at the shop, and Mike is keen to hear from any other local company interested in supporting or sponsoring him. There is also a promotion included in this magazine to help Mike with some of the early personal costs involved in his Olympic bid. Mike works as a sports development officer at Sports Gisborne who he says are supportive of his once in a lifetime bid for Olympic glory.

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GANDER-TANNER: It was a 1960s ‘hippyish style’ garden wedding at their home in Murphy Road for English emigrants Phoebe Tanner and Tim Gander on April 26. Phoebe is a talented artist and photographer, currently working at the Gisborne Herald, although soon to go on maternity leave as their first baby is due in November. Tim is a PE teacher at Boys’ High. “We emigrated in 2005 because of the lifestyle here,” says Phoebe. “This is the perfect place to bring up a family, and we feel so privileged to be able to live at Wainui, it really is a dream come true.” PHOTO BY BRETT MEAD PHOTOGRAPHY

We take and recycle all garden greenwaste. Clean, user-friendly and very competitive charges.

BARK SUPPLIES Mon to Fri: 7.30am to 4.30pm Sat & Sun: 9am to 2pm MacDonald Road, Matawhero Phone 867 6028 WILLIAMS-CARROLL: Wainui beach boy Dion Williams went looking for mid-winter sunshine in Rarotonga where he and Nicola were married on July 26 in the company of a small gathering of family and friends.

beach/life | 15

beach weddings

KING-BUSBY: On Saturday January 19 at All Saints Church, Tokomaru Bay, Catharine Helen Busby married Michael Daniel King of Wainui Beach. Cate is the daughter of Meg and Bill Busby from Rahiri Station near Tokomaru Bay. Mike is the son of Steve and Sue King.

CHAPMAN-MOSS: Nick Chapman and Louisa Moss were married at the beach on February 16 this year. Nick is a school teacher and local lad, wellknown around the surf breaks, and Louisa is his imported English bride, a lawyer now working at Egan and Kite. Nick and Louisa live in Lysnar Street. PHOTO BY BEAUTIFUL DAY PHOTOGRAPHY

AMOR-BENDALL: Sounds like a good name for a wine label! Noel and Alison were officially blended at their Wheatstone Road home on May 31 this year, followed by a party at the Moana Road winery. In the wedding party were Connor Amor-Bendall, Imogen Amor Bendall, Alison Bendall, celebrant Norman McLean, Noel Amor and sons Chase and Blaise Houston Amor.

You can now browse our impressive ranges of premium kitchenware and appliances online • Kitchenware and appliances from around the world • Impressive selection of soft furnishings and blinds

the kitchen shop 16 | beach/life

Gladstone Road Phone 867 9145

beach babes The population of Wainui and Makorori Beaches has been steadily climbing over the past year or so with an amazing number of babies being “born at the beach”. Many of the new babies are second generation residents. On this page we introduce you to the newbies we could locate, and if we missed anyone, let us know, as we will update this page each issue.

Boardroom owners Tom and Hayley Dalton are so happy to have Jett Nicholas Dalton on the surf team. Jett, weighing in at a chart topping 9lb 10oz, arrived on Friday afternoon June 6th, just in time for Friday drinks at grandma and grandpa’s.

Definitely bound for equestrian glory is second generation Wainuian Toby David Lane (born at 6lb 12oz on the 28th of May), pictured here with mum Sarah Aitken. Sarah’s mum and dad, Trudy and David Aitken, have lived at the beach for thirty years or more. Sarah, Tom and Toby are living on the “farm” at the of Lysnar Street where Sarah is running her riding school and Tom breeds polo ponies.

Rugged up and strapped in for a winter’s walk along the beach is Jacob Christian Gilmour, who arrived on the scene weighing 9lb 3oz on Tuesday, March 4th. His mum and dad Steve and Caroline Gilmour are living along Moana Road. Mum is originally from South Africa and is an ER doctor at Gisborne Hospital. Dad is from Wanganui.

New Makorori resident is Jade Isabella Stirton, a grand child for John and Jan Stirton of Sirrah Street. Dad Kane Stirton is Wainui born and bred and mum Leanne Harrison is an Aussie import by way of Auckland, but has owned a house at the end of Makorori Beach for nearly ten years now. Leanne is a social environmental planner working part time for a Wellington based consultancy firm from home via the internet.

beach/life | 17

The ever expanding Ryan family welcomed the six week early arrival of Daniel Darryn Ryan at 4lb 3oz on Wednesday, February 27. Daniel is a healthy, happy little brother to Brie 6 and Jay 2. Caroline is a full-time mum to the Ryan crew of Douglas Street and dad Kelly is a popular Lytton high school teacher and well known for his longboard surfing exploits. Kelly is also Beach/Life surfing correspondent. See page 40.

Meet Perle Moana Rasby, born at 7lb 2oz on Sunday, February 10, to Brent “Young Razza” and Helena. Brent is the son of Bob “Old Razza” and the late Kathy, growing up at the beach in Murphy Road. Helena is an osteopath and a French import from Normandy, who came to Gisborne to learn to surf and works with the “Frenchmen” at ECO Osteo. Brent is a nurse at Gisborne Hospital.

A second generation Wairere Roadian is Matua Kowhai Judd, born at 8lb 8oz on Monday, September 15 last year, and a happy little boy for Greg and Huia Judd and a grandchild for Bruce and well-known Wainui artist Erika Holden. Greg is the son of Denzil and Rose Judd of Matawhero, and he’s the friendly fellow who drives the D.B. Judd Holdings water truck when needed and is operations manager for the family firm.

18 | beach/life

our issues

Post reticulation submission blues The people of Wainui Beach took on City Hall. The Council wanted sewage reticulation, the people – as it turned out – didn’t. In the face of unprecedented, organised and coherent opposition the Gisborne District Council had no option but to back down. We won the war, but now we have to face up to the responsibilities of the peace. The Council is already working on the terms of the treaty. And, looming on the horizon, is the Government’s Proposed National Environmental Standard for On-site Wastewater Systems. On 27 March 2008 the Gisborne District Council approved a severely amended 2008-2009 Annual Plan. The Council would not proceed with reticulation of wastewater and water at Wainui Beach and wastewater at Makorori. The Council had earlier received a record 416 submissions relating to the reticulation proposal. Over 400 of these were against reticulation proceeding. Hearings on submissions were held over four days at which 110 people spoke to their submissions. There was something refreshing and organic about the Wainui uprising. There was a website. There were meetings. There was a newsletter. Local folk got to their feet and were counted. It was democracy in action. The Council listened. In the wake of the decision not to proceed with the plan for reticulation the Council has answered some of the plethora of suggestions, challenges, allegations and presumptions that came out in the submissions. All submitters have since been posted a copy of this.

Consultation did not meet expectation Some submissions made allegations of a “lack of consultation” and a “lack of transparency” in the Gisborne District Council’s decision making process. In it’s post-submissions report Council says: “Whilst the Council’s intentions with previous consultation efforts were genuine, submitters indicated that it did not meet everyone’s needs and preferences. While the volume of information provided was ample, many people did not feel engaged.” Many people felt that the process was “not one of consultation” as they felt that the Council had predetermined the outcome. Some submitters expressed concern that the Council had put forward few options and alternatives during its consultative process. There was a suggestion that the pursuit of reticulation was a dogma. Council has answered this by saying it appeared not well understood that a decision-in-principle to reticulate had been taken earlier and that the officers had been requested to prepare a fully costed proposal, that would be subject to the special consultative procedure. An options analysis was part of the Proposal; six other options were analysed, including the Proposal. “With the benefit of hindsight and based on the views of submitters, Council notes that the analysis was not as thorough as it could have been especially given the significant increase in the cost of the proposal since 2006,” Council says. Many submitters believed that the need to reticulate had not been established.

Council says: “Some said that this need should be established beyond reasonable doubt. The typical threshold for local government is lower, i.e. the precautionary principle. It is acknowledged that for a scheme, of the cost of the one proposed, the current state of knowledge about the environmental and health risks does not justify proceeding with the proposal.”

Health risk not clearly established Some submitters said that the Council should give priority to sorting out the future of the city’s wastewater treatment upgrade first. While many acknowledged septic tank cleanings would end up in the city system, many said that it didn’t make sense to add to the burden on Poverty Bay without first resolving the city’s wastewater issues. In its report Council says: “There is no clear evidence of immediate and unequivocal ecological damage as a result of current wastewater practices. Likewise, there is no clear evidence of public health issues as a result of wastewater contamination of ground and surface water in the communities that can be directly linked to wastewater treatment practice. “It has not been clearly established which proportions of surface and ground water contamination at Wainui and Okitu and Sponge Bay is a result of runoff from farmland above the residential communities and that it has not been clearly established which proportions of the current contamination are derived from agricultural and residential activities. “It is fair to say that the proposals were based on the precautionary principle — that a medium sized concentrated beachside community such as Wainui/Okitu/Sponge Bay and Makorori would have an environmentally more sustainable future if reticulated water supply and wastewater disposal systems were available. “In essence, the Council still believes that proposition is valid. Nevertheless, in view of the submissions received and submitters listened to, Council is prepared to accept that it is possible to contemplate a continuation of the on-site wastewater disposal practices. “It acknowledges that many wastewater systems are capable of providing acceptable outcomes and that wastewater technologies are improving, thus allowing future improvements to be made in their individual and collective performance. “There is a need for ongoing monitoring of the effects of on-site wastewater treatment, as well as a review of the requirements of Council’s Wastewater Discharges Plan. Such regulatory intervention can be further developed and agreed to by Council, the Wainui/ Okitu/Sponge Bay communities and other stakeholders.”

beach/life | 19

DEVELOPERS SILENT: Many people believed reticulation was being driven by a conspiracy between land developers and the Council. Councillors were indignant at such allegations.

Was it really about urban development? Council also fielded allegations by submitters who believed the real reason for the reticulation proposal was the wish to increase residential development at the beachside settlements. The implication was that it should not be up to the local community of Wainui and Okitu to fund 90 per cent of a proposal that would allow development that would be of benefit to the wider Gisborne community. Council agreed that a desire to see some of the beach’s development potential realised was a clear component of the reasons why reticulation has been promoted. The Urban Coastal Strategy, that was adopted in 2005, points to “significant financial benefits” to Wainui/Okitu/Sponge Bay landowners if new development opportunities were created. According to Council the Urban Coastal Strategy had five general objectives. The first of these was to encourage controlled development in areas attractive to potential new residents. “The Strategy was explicit in stating that it provided for limited further residential development and signalled the need to review land use controls, and/or rezoning of land, to allow for further residential development,” Council says. “These intentions were given effect to by both the reticulation proposals and Proposed Plan Change 37 to the Council’s District Plan. The latter sought to set planning objectives to promote and maintain environmental quality and special community character whilst allowing for development to slightly higher densities. “This would have been enabled by reticulation which meant that minimum site areas for residential development were no longer governed by the constraints of on-site wastewater treatment. “The Plan change sought to limit density to one unit per 800 square metres, not too much lower than the current constraints posed by the on-site wastewater treatment that generally requires around 1000 square metres of land per household unit. “A raft of other controls to limit adverse effects of new residential development was also part of the Plan change.” Council believes that these controls were such that expressed fears of large scale urbanisation, similar to Australia’s Gold Coast or Mount Maunganui and Papamoa, were unfounded. Council says the rejection of the proposal to reticulate will have 20 | beach/life

some implications for the Gisborne community’s wish to increase residential development and to allow its attractive seaside areas to be developed so that more people can live there. The exact effect of this is not easy to calculate, but it could be in the order of one to two hundred fewer household units not being able to be accommodated here. As the proposed Plan change 37 primarily envisaged a future of a Wainui Beach reticulated for sewage disposal and city water supply, Council believes is now “appropriate” to withdraw Plan change 37. In consultation with the local community, Council will consider whether a future Plan change should be promoted. “In that case a new proposal would be developed which is clearly based on a non-reticulated future for the communities, and which is more specifically in line with many of the ecological and sustainability objectives that were clearly in the minds of many submitters to the reticulation proposals.

We could never have paid for it Council now admits that the submission and hearing process clearly established that the “social and economic implications” were significantly larger than had been originally anticipated. It says the genesis of the reticulation proposal comes from a time where per-household cost was estimated in the region of $5,000-$7,500. The Special Consultative Procedure had since demonstrated that the more likely cost of $25,000$30,000 per household scheme imposed a significant financial burden on the community. Council now acknowledges that whilst some households might have been be able to afford such costs, there would have been degrees of financial hardship for a substantial numbers of households. The Council report says: “On reading the submissions and listening to the presentations of community members at the hearing, the Council has come to the conclusion that the economic effects of a decision to continue with the proposal was likely to have been severe for many households”. Council says this may have meant the possibility that some people, including people on lower and medium household incomes, people with small children and the elderly would have been forced to sell their homes and leave the community. “Council regards such effects as undesirable and contrary to the social and economic wellbeing of these communities.” But, as a warning, Council says it is acknowledged that by making the decision it has, Council is likely to require some households to upgrade their disposal systems.

Council and community will work together to plan a “sustainable future” A small group of Wainui resident “volunteers” have had two exploratory meetings with officers of the Gisborne District Council to discuss how to best to set up a “collaboration” between the Council and Wainui residents in the wake of the rejection of the reticulation proposal. Concerned at suggestions of “inadequate consultation” during the reticulation submission process, the Council is keen to establish a “partnership” between Council and the beach community to discuss and plan future environmental and development issues. The GDC officers want to establish a framework for a “proposed collaborative process” that can be developed and reported to a full Council meeting on October 30. The Wainui residents present at both meetings with GDC staff (July 28 and August 19) are aware that they have no mandate or authority to be representing their community. They were invited to attend the meetings as they were the recognisable people behind a loose group who worked on the campaign to urge Wainui people to oppose reticulation. On Sunday, August 3, when Wainui people gathered for a community get-together post-reticulation proposal, those who had been at the 28 July GDC meeting took the opportunity to update the 60 or so people on what was being discussed as a way to get planning underway for a collaborative way forward. It was suggested that about five community members be identified to meet with GDC on behalf of Wainui-Okitu to draft plans (not make decisions). The majority at the meeting felt it was important that representatives from the community who would work with Council would need to be nominated and elected. GDC CEO Lindsay McKenzie has since prepared a memo which explains the early work undertaken so far to form a “collaboration” and deals with the issue of “representation”. He believes that some work towards setting up a formal collaboration can proceed before a formal election takes place. Mr McKenzie says Council staff have begun to “prepare a proposal for how a collaborative approach can be given effect”. He says it’s his intention to invite some Wainui-Okitu community members to be a “short-term reference group”. “Contact has been made with some of the people who the community identified as leading the call for sustainable on-site wastewater disposal, and they have agreed to assist in that role. The first task is to prepare a “proposal on a collaborative approach” for Council and community consideration. “In my opinion the first stage of the work does not warrant widespread or formal community representation as the task is to prepare a “proposal” – a work plan, processes and budget - for Council and the community to consider. “A small reference group is all that is needed (at this stage) and I am intending that we should proceed on that basis.” Mr McKenzie says neither the GDC staff nor the reference group have any authority to formally decide anything. He says only after the implementation of a formal “collaboration” would the decisions about the environmental and regulatory framework proceed. Issues the collaboration would focus on would include storm water investigations, ground water monitoring and investigations into alternative waste water disposal methods for people for whom on-site disposal is not an option. At the conclusion of the July 28 meeting GDC staff all agreed

that there were no “sour grapes” involved in the wake of the reticulation proposal rejection. They said they were committed to a “positive way forward, facing good challenges and the opportunity of developing good working relationships”.

Step by step towards an on-site wastewater management plan How a collaborative approach to achieve an on-site waste water disposal programme might proceed: • Develop goals with key stakeholders. • Review the current situation and identify existing gaps in wastewater management, including risk assessment and analytical data. • Develop options for the best management programme for the community taking into account the environmental, economic, social and cultural well-beings. • Develop options for the implementation of the various components of the management programme: participation, planning’ design, installation, operation, maintenance, monitoring and compliance, enforcement. • Develop methods to ensure implementation of the management plan, permits – regular “Warrant of Fitness” checks, administration. • Develop monitoring processes to ensure effectiveness of and compliance with the management programme. • Develop education plans; develop funding options; develop timeframe for implementation; develop approaches for those properties where on-site waste disposal is not practical or possible. How a management programme might operate: 1. Initial inspection and assessment of all sites. 2. Failing systems to be upgraded immediately. 3. Upgrading to be related to lot size, coverage, soil types and tank type. 4. All non-compliant (but not failing) systems to be upgraded when property is sold. 5. Annual inspections and monitoring. 6. Systems to be upgraded if and when future inspections show failures. 7. Annual charges to cover monitoring and inspections. 8. Programmed tank emptying on, say, 3 year cycle. 9. Planning controls to limit (average) lot sizes to 1000m² plus. 10. Planning controls to limit lot sizes to problem sites, e.g. soil type, topography, depth to groundwater. 11. Planning controls to limit size coverage of impervious surfaces. 12. All sites to have water tanks - to reduce stormwater runoff. • EXCERPT FROM THE GDC POST SUBMISSIONS REPORT

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Your septic tank and you ... You said no to reticulation. For now and into the future it all goes down your drain and into your backyard. The last thing you want is a septic system failure. Septic tank systems are on-site, self-contained, mini-sewage plants designed to safely dispose of biological sanitary waste within the boundaries of its owner’s property. A septic tank system consists of two main parts — a “septic tank” where natural bacterial action decomposes human waste into environmentally acceptable components – and a dispersion field. Also called a drainfield or effluent field. The septic tank contains water, sludge and scum. The sludge is the pooey, gooey stuff that sinks to the bottom of the tank and the scum is the fatty crust that floats on the top of the tank. The sludge is mostly decomposed faeces and food scraps and the scum is fat and soap residue. Between the scum and the sludge is the water – the water you use to flush the toilets, empty out of your kitchen sink, bath and shower. Each time you flush the toilet or empty the sink Archimedes’ Principal comes into effect – an equal weight of liquid overflows from the other end of the septic tank out into the drainfield, buried beneath your garden. The liquid leaving the tank should have had time to become separated from its accompanying faeces, toilet paper, food, soap residue and should be quite clear – if you are using your system with the care it needs to operate properly. As time goes by the scum and the sludge builds and as the layers get thicker, the water layer gets narrower and periodically the whole thing needs to be stirred up into a slurry, pumped out and disposed of. This is important to realise — your poos, toilet paper, food gunk, soap residue aren’t disposed of in the septic tank, merely collected for disposal later, usually every three years or so. Any gases created in the process are vented to the atmosphere via the plumbing vent system (the mushroom). It’s also very important to make sure the mushroom vent is clear and able to breath. From the septic tank, the relatively clear liquid flows out to disperse over a large, sub-soil, drainfield consisting of a rock-filled trench, or network of trenches. The trench material defines the drainfield from the surrounding soil and acts as a filter to remove remaining small solids that may be suspended in the liquid. This liquid seeps through the rock material and into the surrounding sub-soil where it becomes part of the moist sub-soil environment. VENT OR MUSHROOM



Some systems, especially those installed or renewed since the early 1980s, may consist of two separate tanks — one tank for the toilets, kitchen sink and dishwasher (brown water) and a smaller side-tank for the washing machine water (grey water). These may share the drainfield or have separate fields. This is to stop the high volume of waste water from modern washing machines “flushing” through the septic tank disturbing the bacterial decomposing and separating process. Conventional septic systems are not care free. They require regular maintenance. The undigested solids in the septic tank should be pumped out every two to four years. If the sludge is >>>

Do you know when your septic tank was last cleaned out? Just as your car requires regular maintenance, so does your septic tank system As a general rule your tank should be inspected annually and pumped out every 2-3 years. If your system is not maintained regularly the build up of solid material and fat can block up your effluent system and cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. With a fleet of three purpose-built liquid waste suction trucks, we have the ability to respond when you need us. We also have a new truck designed for accessing properties with limited access space or for small jobs. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to respond to urgent jobs. We use WasteTRACK. The New Zealand Waste Tracking System. This system is designed to track waste carted from your site to the final disposal site, with independent verification that the waste has been disposed of correctly and legally.




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<<< not removed periodically, it will eventually carry over into the drainfield and cause the field to block up with gunk, become saturated and generally fail to work— and then you have real problems. It’s not the septic tank that fails, but the drainfield. It is at risk of becoming “gunked up” and unusable. Replacing a failed drainfield is a real pain. Say hello to major earthworks. Say goodbye to thousands of dollars. A well-designed system can handle a minimum amount of normal household chemicals such as laundry detergent and bleach; but excessive usage can be detrimental. Look for cleaning products recommended for use with septic tanks. Do not pour away chemicals that are toxic to the bacteria, such as paint thinners, solvents, insecticides, etc. Absolutely do not pour products such as NapiSan down the sink. It is the system’s worst enemy. Cooking fats and oils should also be avoided. Undersink garbage disposal units are a no-no. Some of Wainui’s more recently built homes may have the latest multi-tank, aerated systems which claim to treat the water to a higher degree of purity before releasing it to the sub-soil drainfield. People who have invested in such systems should have been provided with operating manuals and may have maintenance schedules that differ from the older systems. However the general concept is the same – care and respect at all times. Ideally a tank should receive a small quantity of wastewater from shower and toilet use at breakfast, then be given eight hours rest during the day for the bacteria in the tank to deal with that input. In the evening it receives more wastewater from the dinner dishes, baths and showers and then allowed to rest again overnight. Low volume and time to rest, that’s the ideal. That’s how a system will last for 50 years. If you’re wasteful with your tank water and are buying water regularly, you’re stressing your system. Long time beach residents even turn off the tap while brushing their teeth. Toilets are flushed only when really necessary. Just because you have a new or renovated home with 10,000 litres of water storage, multiple toilets and modern washing appliances, doesn’t mean you have a wastewater system to match. Remember septic tanks systems were designed for households with rainwater tanks. The conservation practises used to save water are the practises needed to run a septic tank system. They are not designed for heavy water use.

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Septic system life expectancy The life of a septic system depends on the following factors: • Your concrete septic tank unit can last nearly indefinitely if it was well made. It’s the drainfield that has the use-by date. • Along with minimising domestic water usage, the most significant step you can take to extend the life of your system is to have the tank cleaned or “pumped” to a schedule advised by a septic tank cleaning company. • Septic systems won’t fail immediately if they are not pumped. But continued neglect shortens the drainfield life as more and more solid waste escapes from the “full” tank and will result in eventual clogging of the drainfield. If you’ve been putting off having your tank pumped out because “it’s working fine at the moment”, then you are living on borrowed time. In some cases, site limitations may make replacement of the old absorption field impossible. • Being conservative with wastewater is a big factor. As stated previously, the heavier the volume of waste going into the tank shorter its working life will be. • Avoidance of chemicals, and other items that don’t biodegrade, is also of importance. Certain chemicals in many household cleaning products can compromise the bacterial action within the tank, meaning sludge can overflow into the drainfield, shortening its life. Absolutely never use the septic system to dispose of oils, chemicals, fats, solvents, paints or greases. • A conventional septic drain field has a varying life depending on the soil it is in, drainfield size, cleaning vigilance and usage level. • Blocking or sealing the ground surface will be a problem over just about any drainfield. Don’t build anything over a drainfield; no building, paving, fish pond, patio, tennis court, parking area or anything that compacts the soil. • There are, therefore, many influences and a range of life expectancies for a septic tank system. A drainfield in good soil, with a well maintained septic tank, may last for more than 50 years. • But, in general, a drainfield that is more than 20 years old can not have its forward life predicted to any degree of accuracy, and therefore owners are advised to be prepared for its replacement at any time. Even a well looked after septic tank system will eventually need to be replaced.

Temporary failures caused by overuse It usually happens at Christmas when all waste water outlets are working to maximum. Your septic system might otherwise be in good working condition, but the abnormally high rate of people using the sinks, showers and toilets over a short time can flood the system. The volume of water entering the septic tank cannot flow through into an already saturated drainfield. Sewage backs up the pipes into the home, usually at the lowest plumbing fixture. You will have to call your septic tank cleaning company for an emergency pump out. To avoid such an emergency have the tank checked and, if needed, pumped out before the big event. This will give extra capacity for absorbing the sudden surge in wastewater volume.

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Report from the underworld: Septic system survival The message in clear –If you aren’t having your septic tank pumped out approximately every three years — you’re clearly asking for trouble. Annoying, expensive trouble. What’s not clear is how many people are neglecting their systems and what overall state of “septic tank health” exists at Wainui Beach. Enquiries to Gisborne’s septic tank cleaning companies reveal that a percentage of Wainui households don’t have a regular cleaning programme in place. It’s hard to ascertain an exact percentage because there are at least three service companies involved. There are about 500 homes at Wainui with septic tanks. There are as many as 25 variations of septic tanks systems and combinations, so each one is an individual case. Add to that soil type, age of the system, the number of people living in the house, the habits of the people living in the house and it becomes near impossible to arrive at an overall picture. Septic systems are failing. But not at an alarming rate. One local contractor says they usually replace around three failed systems each year. And even this has slowed over the last couple of years as people have awaited the outcome of the reticulation issue. There are possibly a few homes right now facing up to the necessity of an upgrade. And what these people will want is some sort of guarantee that reticulation won’t be on the agenda again in a few years time, just after they’ve invested in a new system. Once again it’s hard to get exact figures, but an upgrade to fix a failed system can cost anywhere from $8000 to $20,000. Replacing a failed system will require a building consent following a site assessment by a GDC approved assessor. The assessor will identify the system design needed. You can then shop around to have the work done by one of the local installers or, where there are major site problems, you might need to contract the services of a recognised wastewater engineer. And you can’t always just dig a new trench

in the backyard and keep the old tank. Once it’s been established that your system has failed an upgrade has to meet GDC guidelines. The picture that is emerging of Wainui’s septic underworld is a community made up mostly of homes that have been around for 30 or more years, mixed with a percentage of new homes built over the last decade. The older homes mostly have a variation of old-style systems that were recommended at the time they were built. And in the times they were built they may have been to service beach baches which were used only during summer, or to meet the conservative needs of a retired couple. This was also a time when we didn’t have automatic washing machines and dishwashers. In other words, the expected volume of liquid through the systems was much lower in the “old days”. Many of these old systems have survived without failing for decades, with minimum maintenance, because of the low volume. But in the last 10 years, a large number of older houses have been bought and sold, with retired couples or solo occupiers being replaced by busy young families. The new families have usually come from town and have not grown up with an awareness of conserving tank water and respecting a septic tank system. Often, report the contractors, their systems have failed within months of the new families moving in. This usually happens after successive visits from the water truck. Sellers generally don’t make a big issue of the obligations, and possible future expenses, involved when buying into a property with an aging septic system, so often the new owner is blissfully unaware of what’s really goes on after the toilet flushes. Out of sight, out of mind is the general rule, particularly as older septic tanks systems are buried underground and not an obvious chattel. The pumping contractors, who have previously cleaned the tanks for the former home owners, are often stone-walled with an attitude of “but it’s working, it doesn’t need

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fixing” when the next scheduled pumping comes around. One company says they sent out 100 reminder notices recently of which only 10 per cent were actioned. Some of these homeowners may have shopped around and found another contractor, but it does reflect a certain degree of maintenance negligence out there. One positive to emerge from the changing people-scape at Wainui is the trend towards healthier eating, and therefore healthier cooking methods. One contractor says he is seeing a lot less cooking fat, usually from roast lamb dinners, coagulated in septic tanks these days. A good place to start in the care of your old septic system is to find out just what sort of system you have and where your drainfield is. The septic tank cleaning contractor can, by observation, tell you what sort of concrete tank you’ve got, and take a guess at what sort of drainfield you may have. In some cases, GDC may have an archived plan of your system from the time the contractor applied for a permit to install it. So if you are planning a major landscaping makeover or building a granny flat, it would pay to know where you should and shouldn’t build or pave over. Contractors report that many properties have, over time, paved or built decks over their tanks, which is not really a good idea. So – if and when the Council and community partnership comes up with a compliancy or “warrant of fitness” scheme for septic tanks at Wainui, it could be crunch time for many of us. If you’ve inherited an older septic system and have no idea of its history, an inspection and pump out by one of Gisborne’s contractors is all you can really do. Ask how often your particular tank needs cleaning and ask to be put on their database for the next cycle. Get septic savvy and find out how to maintain and look after a septic system — there are various books, pamphlets, internet sites. But, be prepared for its eventual failure. It may or may not happen in your life time. But it will happen.

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Coastal move has changed the landscape of Wainui Beach He’s quietly changing the way we build homes on the coast. Chris Shaw of Pacific Modern Architecture in Wairere Road muses over his decision to bring his work and his family to Wainui Beach. I guess it was because of the surf that Shareena found herself being dragged kicking and screaming from the plush law offices on the 13th floor of the Chase Tower to a small bach at Wainui beach. It was to a small two bedroom fibrolite batch with fake plastic grass covering the deck. The net curtains were the first to go (she was not a grandma yet!) and the gold wallpaper was immediately stripped. Well, the walls stayed bare plasterboard for a few more years, but gradually the attraction of the big city faded and was replaced the enjoyment of new friends and the relaxed beach lifestyle. Child number one was joined by child number two and then three, and included that the many additions to the bach. I’m not sure just when a ‘bach’ becomes a house, but we have managed to make it a home for our family and many visiting friends while still maintaining the easy feel of a well-used holiday home. For me the main attraction here, apart from the consistent surf and great weather, was the vibrant and eclectic nature of the community and buildings. This was a genuine old-fashioned bach community. It had not been ransacked by the Papamoa-style development seen at other beach towns. There is a genuine “soul” to this beach community with its diverse range of residents adding colour and character. I decided that if I was to live in this community, then I wanted to have a hand in its ongoing development. If there was to be new development around me, then I needed to contribute – to ensure any new development added positively to the neighbourhood. The architectural practice of Abode Coastal was launched in 1999 with the design and build of the Stokes house in Wairere Road. From that I was given the commission to design a new home for Steve and Leigh Gibbs at Okitu. They were fantastic clients, whose vision and trust allowed for a project that won our first architectural award. Designed at the beach we’re an award winning architectural practice that has a client focused approach to design, we listen and deliver.

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We have gone on to design many new homes and alterations throughout the community, all with a distinct desire to maintain the character and add to the diverse design of our beach town. Abode Coastal was set up to focus on coastal home design, but in 2005 the practice changed its name to Pacific Modern Architecture to better reflect our emerging architectural focus which is based on a “Pacific” take on modernist design. One of the particular things that has struck me about Wainui and the East Coast is the wealth of talented people who choose to live here. I get particular satisfaction when I meet someone who, through their particular skills or talents, would be valued in any major world city but, for lifestyle reasons, has made our community their home. The internet has created a revolution in small communities by allowing home-based or small town businesses to be viable. To be able to balance your working life with your family and community is a very special privilege that we at Wainui enjoy. We have a beautiful and mostly deserted beach for most of the year. Then, for the holidays, the excitement as vacationers and university students return and catch up with their friends and fill the local bars. For those three weeks Wainui buzzes and we get the chance to share our little piece of paradise with others and pat ourselves on the back for our wise decision to call this place our home.

45 Wairere Road, Wainui Beach • Gisborne


I suggested a while back to Shareena that maybe the city might have opportunities to offer as the children got older. This was met with that cold look that needs no words to explain. This community has a lot to offer, and in turn, the nature of our community is such that each individual has a genuine opportunity to positively contribute themselves. I think that is a good thing.

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our history Were you there when the whales came ashore? It’s amazing how many people remember witnessing this catastrophic event on a stormy autumn day in 1970. 59 sperm whales swam into the shallows at the northern end of Wainui Beach and died in a seething, bleeding mass. It was a tragic event that has become part of the history of Wainui Beach.

Story by Gray Clapham | Photos from Tairawhiti Museum

The day the whales died It was inDeed one of those defining moments, at least in local history. It was a cold, overcast Wednesday morning, March 18, 1970. The whales had started coming ashore in the night. At first light they had been spotted by a beach resident who called the local radio station, 2XG. Reporters Derek Fox and Tony Cyprian drove to the beach and filed reports over the radio. The people of Gisborne flocked to the beach to view the spectacle. I was amongst them, a 16 year old sixth former. We heard it on the radio and my dad drove me out before school. It was a fascinating, ghastly spectacle. This was in an era before people were super-sensitive about whales and their survival, but it was still a heart-breaking thing to witness. There were mothers, babies and full grown males. The sea was running high. A slow moving depression over Northland had Gisborne in the grip of one of those lingering easterlies. There was a hazy sea mist. It was cold for March. The waves were washing high up the beach. The sorry sight in the sandy shallows was only half the story. Here we observed scores of the floundering, hulking, black mammals

LEVIATHAN KILLING FIELD: As the sea receded the Sperm whales lay dead and dieing on the sands of Wainui Beach .

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rolling in the breakers, blowholes expelling stale air, flukes flapping, tales slapping the sandy shallows. There was nothing anyone could do turn to them back. At 8am others were still coming in. The worst half of the story was the plight of many of the pod who had hit the shore further north beyond the sandy beach and were flailing themselves on the jagged rocks of the Wainui-Makorori headland. Here the sea was red. Blowholes ejected crimson plumes. A scene from Dante’s Inferno. Traffic jammed State Highway 35 for a mile. Bob Hannah, a well known local traffic cop, was in a lather trying to sort out the double parking and the snarled traffic all the way back to town. Later that day the Gisborne Herald front paged the event with the headline: “Whales come ashore to die on Wainui Beach”. “Gisborne residents flocked to Wainui Beach this morning to watch nearly 60 whales of the Blackfish variety (sic) die slowly in the shallow water. Fish (sic) ranging from 15 to 35 feet in length lay strewn along half a mile of beach at the eastern end (sic) of Wainui. Hundreds of Gisborne residents, including school parties, braved early morning wind and rain to get a close look at the large, dark

MACABRE CARNIVAL: As the shock of the mass stranding subsided into morbid curiousity the dieing of the whales turned into a photo opportunity.

coloured species of the marine life,” the Herald said. (The Herald reported the whales to be Blackfish at first, but this was corrected to Sperm whales the following day.) The stranding, and the burial of the whales, made the front page until Friday when the story was upstaged by the arrival in Gisborne that weekend of the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne and Prince Charles who were at the time making a Royal Tour of New Zealand. The royal welcome was held at Rugby Park. The GDC’s Lysnar Reserve Management Plan report quotes a local Maori belief from the time of the stranding that the Royal Tour may have been the cause of it. It says: “A local Maori theory of why the event had occurred was because at the time, two French war-ships were berthed in the harbour as a royal visit from the Queen was imminent. History had proven to local Maori that major human tragedies had coincided with previous royal visits. Maori leaders agreed that the whale stranding was a major tragedy and the whales had taken the consequences for the people. Therefore, the people were protected for this royal visit. The report says: “It became evident the whales were dying and a decision on what to do had to be made. It was decided that the dying whales were “tangata” (humans) and their grave would be revered in the same traditions as a human burial site. Maori church leaders held prayers over the whales.” No reason, outside of the spiritual, has ever been agreed upon as a conclusive reason why such a large number of whales came ashore at Wainui that day. However recent research into whale strandings in the North Sea suggest increased solar activity, causing disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field, may cause whales to run aground. Analysis of documented whale strandings between 1712 and 2003 shows that more (up to 90%) occur when solar activity is high. Scientists propose that whales use the Earth’s magnetic field to assist navigation like homing pigeons do. As the Sun disrupts the magnetic field whales can become

confused, they say. It is interesting to note that there was much publicised total eclipse of the sun on March 7th, 1970 – 11 days before the strandings. By 10am on March 18 it became clear there was no way to save any of the whales. As the Herald reported: “A fair proportion of them were still alive and provided the crowds with spectacular displays as in their death-throes they reared and thrashed in the blood stained sea.” As people got over the initial shock, and as the tide receded leaving the whales high and dry, the crowds that came and went all day and into the night began to treat the event as an entertainment. The Herald reported: “The beach took on an almost carnival atmosphere as despite the cold and rain many people tried to get as close to the fish (sic) as possible as amateur photographers took snapshots from every direction.” But the next day their was a gory turn in the saga of the whales with the Herald reporting “Vigilante action by some Gisborne residents is likely if thoughtless people do not stop mutilating the live bodies of 60 whales that have been stranded on Wainui Beach since early yesterday morning.” The SPCA had received numerous calls from outraged Wainui locals who had observed people hacking at the whale carcasses. Men were seen knocking out whale teeth and others cutting chunks of flesh from them while they were still alive. This reporter remembers witnessing such an occurrence where a couple of men hacked at a whale with an axe to the horror of more sensitive people who were calling on them to stop. Another witness said: “It was a scene of pure horror down amongst the huge creatures, and I was unfortunate enough to witness the attempted removal of a jawbone by someone with a chainsaw. Not something I enjoyed.” Local schoolgirl Leigh Schroeder (now Dawson) was 10 years old at the time and remembers Wainui School children being taken to see the whales. The sight of the whales being chopped up by men with axes and chainsaws was a nightmare she would never forget. Leigh remembers later being chosen from classmates to write to the Council on behalf of the school suggesting that a plaque be erected at the site to commemorate the stranding event. By the start of the third day it was obvious that most of the >>>

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GRUESOME JOB: One of the biggest of the 59 sperm whales is dragged along the beach to be buried in the mass grave.

<<< whales had died and concern shifted to the problem of disposing of the bodies before they started rotting. It became the Ministry of Works’ challenge and a plan was hatched to bury the whales in a mass grave to be bulldozed in the adjacent sand dunes. It was decided they only had three days to get the job done before the corpses reached advanced stages of decomposition and would be difficult to handle. On Friday, two days after the stranding, the Herald reported: “A race against time to clear Wainui Beach of the rapidly decomposing dead whales.” An estimate of between $5000 to $10,000 was given dig a hole 500 feet long, 30 feet wide and 15 feet deep. A channel was dug through the sand to the beach through which the bodies were pushed and towed by two bulldozers into the grave. Once in the grave the carcasses, totalling some 1800 tonnes, were cut open to speed up decomposition. Workmen had to spray a deodorant on the carcasses and gas masks were brought into town from Waiouru military camp. The burying of the whales took four days and nights. According to the GDC Lysnar Reserve Management report lime was poured over the bones to aid the decomposition and to render the whalebone useless for carving, which would in turn deter would-be bone carvers from plundering the grave. The area was then fenced to stop people from disturbing the site, as well as to stop anyone falling into possible cavities left after the whales had decomposed The recent GDC report is concerned at a lack of significance given to the site of the Whales Grave over the years. As well as upgrading signage, fencing and car parking the report wants to “turn what is currently a rather disappointing and dangerous road-side stop into a historical feature of the Lysnar Reserve”.

FOOTNOTE: On October 29th, 1994, another mass stranding saw 72 sperm whales die on Muriwai Beach, near Auckland. Sperm Whales Statistics: Maximum length: 18m (60ft) males / 12.5m (41ft) females Adult weight: 63 tonnes males max / 27 tonnes females max Life span: 60-70 years Sexual maturity: 7-13 years females / 18-21 years males Gestation: 14-15 months Dive duration: 90 to 140mins Distribution: all oceans, preference for deep waters, several distinct geographical sub-groups World population: Est 1 million (pre-whaling 2.4 million)

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THE FINAL SOLUTION: The 59 Sperm whales, estimated at a total of 1800 tonnes, were towed into the dunes, stacked in rows and buried beneath the sand. WHAT ELSE WAS HAPPENING On March 18, 1970: • The US army officially charged 14 officers following an investigation into the Mai Lai Massacre. • United States Postal Service workers in New York City went on strike. • The Queen ended the first week of her New Zealand tour in Dunedin. Charles and Anne had gone on to Rotorua. They would join up again in Gisborne at the weekend. • Anti-Communist general Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk in Cambodia. • “Goodbye Columbus” was playing at the Odeon Theatre. • Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was the top selling album. Lee Marvin’s “Wandering Star” was the number one hit single. • A new Datsun 1600 cost $3099 from G.F. Blogg and Co. • A 3-bedroom executive house in Marian Drive was priced at $23,000; a villa in Whataupoko was priced at $16,000. • A can of sliced Watties peaches cost 19 cents and a pound of bacon cost 68 cents at Openshaws Supermarket. • A pint bottle of milk was still just 4 cents. • At 9.36pm that night “Peyton Place” was showing on WNTV1. • In the whale hunting season 1969-1970 a total of 25,830 sperm whales were hunted and killed commercially.

Drive away well connected, a perfect match everytime. Take the worry about updating your vehicle by talking to Ian Francis at Autoconnection. Ian’s passion is finding the exact car his clients are looking for. A mechanic by trade, Ian hand-picks each car for his yard and if you can’t find what you want there, he’ll search his extensive databases. More and more Wainui people are driving vehicles fitted by Ian Francis. He’s more than a car dealer, he’s a personal consultant for your driving pleasure. Ask anyone who’s bought a car from Ian. You’ll only hear good stories.

Many strandings over the years

In February of 1955, the giant of the sea above was found stranded on the reef at Tuahine Point and below gentlemen of the day in July of 1919 pose like big game trophy hunters with an orca washed up on the sand at the northern extremity of the beach. Today’s concern for the dignity of sea mammals was certainly lacking in those “good old days”.

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our people

Keeping up with Mrs Jones She’s the little lady with the huge soul. The First Lady of Wainui Beach in every way. She has devoted years of her time to Wainui Beach concerns, and those of the wider Gisborne community. And at 82 years old Muriel Jones of Lloyd George Road hasn’t given up yet. Story by Gray Clapham

It would be hard work finding anyone who can keep up with Mrs Muriel Jones. Older Wainui residents can only applaud and admire the selfless work Muriel Jones has put into her community over the years — and younger residents, who may not know too much about Mrs Jones, will be awed by her resumé of community positions and impressed by her determined and level-headed work for the empowerment of women over the last 50 years or more. The first-ever woman elected to the Cook County Council was christened Constance Muriel Lance after her birth in Waikare, North Canterbury on the 26th of March, 1926. She was the first child born to Thomas and Meta Lance, who farmed at Horsely Down near Hawarden in the Hurunui District of North Canterbury. It was, at one time, one of the largest properties in North Canterbury. “My parents lost the farm in the great depression, there were two lots of death duties during the 1920s and when a mercantile firm foreclosed on the mortgage in 1932 we were forced to give it up and went to Christchurch so my father could get work,” says Muriel. “I later came to understand the terrible trauma this was for my parents. They lost everything. They had to leave the country to start a new life in the city knowing they had lost the property that had been in the family for generations.” With his skills as a farmer and a rural contractor Muriel’s father got work on the Waimairi county council in Christchurch driving steam engines and other machinery. Muriel has two younger brothers and one younger sister. Her sister Susan, younger by eight years, still lives at Governers Bay near Lyttleton and they keep in touch regularly by phone and email. “I was six when we arrived in Christchurch in 1932 and went to the Fendalton Open-air School. I was petrified. I was so shy. I was the smallest girl at the school. I had grown up in the country, it was fairly remote, and I didn’t know any other children apart from my two younger brothers until I went to school.” Two years later, to take up a contracting opportunity, Thomas and Meta moved to the settlement of Culverden on Highway 7 in North Canterbury, with the two younger boys and the new baby Susan. Muriel was left behind in the Christchurch suburb of Merivale with her father’s widowed mother, Mabel, and his sister Mildred, so she could continue her schooling. She later went to secondary school at St Margaret’s College and then on to University.

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Muriel lived with her Gran, a dominating matriarch, and her spinster Aunt Mildred until the day she was married. They were good, church-going people, helping in the community, involved in charities and Church of England activities. They were friends with the local vicar who went on to become Bishop Warren of Christchurch. Aunt Mildred, known as “Mull” was a pioneer in the area of occupational therapy, teaching sewing and knitting in the Christchurch sanitarium. The two older women were obviously a huge influence on the young Muriel, who went from child to woman under their watchful eyes. As the years went by the naturally shy but quick-witted country girl came out of herself and formed a great group of school friends making the most of Christchurch city life. “My standard three teacher was W. J. A. (Bill) Brittenden, he made a huge difference to my life. (Bill Brittenen, 1910-1986, was a teacher, writer, historian, cricketer, city councillor. Writer Keri Hulme is another of his protégés.) He brought me out of myself and I became much more of an extrovert. I liked to be involved in things. I played hockey, swimming and later at St Margarets I took up basketball (netball these days). We had dancing lessons with the Christ College boys. At university I was involved in drama and rowing where I was the cox.” Muriel was thirteen when World War 2 broke out. By the end of the war in 1945 she was 19. Her’s was typical of a wartime teenage life lived through the early 40s, she says. “ It was all very simple really. We used to go to Sumner beach. We knitted socks and gloves for the soldiers and made camouflage nets. There were shortages of things and rationing and we never missed a news bulletin, listening to the list of casualties. Apart from my godfather who was killed in Crete, we didn’t lose any of our family men-folk as they were involved in essential farming or manpower activities at home. “Life was very simple in those days. We all had bicycles, there were no cars and we biked everywhere. Even later at university, after I had met Duff, even if we went to a ball, I went on the bar of his bike. Me in my ball gown and he in his dinner suit. “Every school holiday I would go to stay with my parents in North Canterbury which I looked forward too very much. I was missing my little sister growing up, and the two boys, so I loved going home. “The first time I was waiting for the bus, it went sailing past, and

MURIEL’S WEDDING: Duff and 21-year-old Muriel Jones at their wedding in Christchurch in 1947.

fly fishing, bowls and golf. I thought he was the most wonderful man I missed it. From that time on I have had a phobia about catching in the world,” says Muriel. buses, trains and planes on time. I am always early.” Muriel and Duff were married in 1947. Muriel was 21. It was a love In 1945 Muriel went on to the Canterbury College of the affair but also a meeting of like minds. They were both university University of New Zealand, the forerunner of the University of graduates, intelligent and capable. After the wedding they took a Canterbury, still living at home with Gran and Mull. flat in Christchurch and at last Muriel was able to start a life away Muriel had an idea to join the United Nations and an ambition from Gran. to become involved in relief work overseas. To further that plan In 1948 they moved to Temuka, near Timaru, where Duff had she embarked upon studying for a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in been offered a job as assistant engineer with the South Canterbury economics, political science and English. Catchment Board in charge of river control and soil erosion. Plans to travel the world, helping the poor and underprivileged In Temuka they were to stay for the next 14 years. Here they had were ambushed by a handsome man named Ionoval Ellice Jones their three children, Douglas, Diana and Elizabeth. Duff became who she met and soon became the centre of Muriel’s life. involved in Rotary and was Ngaio Marsh, well-known elected to the Temuka Borough novelist and Shakespearian Life was simple in those days. We all had Council. Muriel had three producer, was a friend of her grandmother: “Through bicycles. We biked everywhere. Even if we went young children to take care of and became involved with Ngaio, Gran got me a part kindergarten and plunket. as a fairy in a university to a ball, I went on the bar of his bike. Me in my In rural Temuka in South production of Midsummer ball gown and he in his dinner suit. Canterbury — known as Night’s Dream. Duff was the the Angler’s Paradise, for stage manager. That’s where its reputation for fine fishing rivers — Duff re-introduced Muriel, a we met.” country girl at heart who had grown up in the city, to the wonders of Ionoval Jones was known most of his life by the nickname the outdoors. “Duff”. An ancestor was a Welsh bard who’s two favourite places “We were always camping somewhere, whitebaiting, fishing. Fly on Earth were the Ionian Sea and the Spanish Mediterranean city fishing around Temuka was brilliant. This love of the outdoors was of Valencia. The two words were blended and became a traditional to follow us to Gisborne, eventually, where we fell in love with Lake family name passed down through the generations. At the time Waikaremoana and led me to play a role in local conservation.” he met his little Shakespearian fairy he was an engineer working In 1962 Duff was offered the position of assistant chief engineer for the DSIR, working on radar. As a can-do sort of bloke he also with the Poverty Bay Catchment Board, at Gisborne. Muriel was had a recreational interest in the technical side of drama and stage not happy at the prospect of moving to the North Island: “Before production. we came we went to a family reunion in Hawkes Bay and Duff took “He was a handsome man. He was a capable, outdoors sort of me up Te Mata Peak. He pointed to the north to the hazy outline of man. Of average height with a great shock of brown hair. He loved

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Muriel was in many ways, unwittingly at first, a pioneer of women’s liberation. It wasn’t intentional and she says she was never a radical. In 1969 Pauline Cooper persuaded Muriel to join the Gisborne Business and Professional Women’s Club. By 1976 she was elected president. She was also greatly influenced by Frances Gregory, Gisborne’s first ever woman city councillor, and Peggy Kaua, a champion of Maori and women’s empowerment. They persuaded Muriel to become involved in the National Council of Women. She was elected local president in 1979. “Frances had a huge effect on me, my mentor in so many ways. In 1977 I went to Christchurch for the national conference of the NCW, which was followed by the second Women’s Conference. It was the beginning of the women’s movement. I didn’t agree with the radical women there, they wanted to dynamite the whole system. I believed you had to join the system and work within it. Mahia Peninsula in the distance and told me Gisborne was as far “Local elections were due to be held that year and when I came away again. I said, ‘it’s the end of the Earth, I’m not going there’.” back to Gisborne from the conferences I was talking with Frances But come north they did. They sent their furniture ahead, loaded Gregory, who was about to retire from the council, outside the City up the Vauxhall, put the kids in the back and drove up to Gisborne. Council offices when the then Mayor, Harry Barker, came out he They rented a house in Bayley Street, Duff went off to grapple with said to Frances, ‘I’m sorry to hear you’re not standing for Council his new position and Muriel went about finding schools for the again’. Frances said, ‘I’m not, but Muriel’s standing for the Cook children. County’. And Harry Barker looked at me and said, ‘You have no “I took Diana to Girls’ High where I met the head mistress, Miss right to.’” Duff. In conversation she found out I had a degree in economics “Well, that was all the encouragement I needed.” and political science. She said they were desperately short That year Muriel was voted on to Cook County Council, the first of qualified teachers and persuaded me to do an Emergency female Cook County councillor in history. She was the only member Secondary School Teacher Training Course. who had to contest the election as all the others male councillors “For the winter term I did relief teaching and by spring I graduated were reelected unopposed. as a certified secondary school teacher. I had never intended to be “They were all ‘good blokes’ and they just expected to get on a teacher, but I found I absolutely loved it. I taught at Girls’ High again every year. I had two men against me each time I stood. I was until 1975.” on the County Council from 1977 to 83, and then again from 1986 So there she was in 1962, a fulltime teacher, wife, and mother of to 1989. Then with the amalgamation of the county and the city I three school aged children. In 1962 that was not the norm. then became a district councillor from 1989 to 1995.” “As a wife and mother I was expected to do everything that During her time as a county and district councillor Muriel was the wives and mothers did in those days — as well as the job. Duff was first woman to be appointed to the Urewera National Park Board. supportive, but he wasn’t always happy. He didn’t like me marking She also served on the Gisborne Employment Advisory Council, the exams at night for example, so I had to get up early in the morning Tairawhiti Community College to do that. It wasn’t easy.” Council and the East Coast In 1970 the Joneses bought It certainly wasn’t fashionable to build at National Parks and Reserves a section in Lloyd George Road at Wainui Beach. They Wainui Beach in those days. But we liked the idea Board. She also help set up the Gisborne Citizen’s Advice paid $3600. They accepted a builder’s tender for just over of being self sufficient with water and sewerage. Bureau and the Gisborne Council of Social Services. $15,000 and started building a “Rural local body politics We loved the outdoor aspect, the beach. new house. in those days was really no “It certainly wasn’t place for a woman. Particularly on the Urewera National Park Board. fashionable to build at Wainui Beach in those days. But we liked the We had to go on expeditions in the bush to look at things, and the idea of being self sufficient with water and sewerage, we loved the men all used to sleep under an old fly with a fire at one end. I had outdoor aspect, the beach. to take along a little pup tent which I had to pitch a little way down “Our neighbours were Chris and Margaret Fenn, Doctor Joe and the track. Doreen Costello, Bill and Colleen Vietch; all good friends. At one “Later on we stayed in chalets by the lake. By then we all knew stage we had what we jokingly called the Lloyd George Ladies’ Surf each other better and I would sleep in one of the top bunks. We Club. We had wooden flutter boards and we’d all meet down at the called it mixed flatting. beach. I’m talking about Colleen Vietch, Diana Drummond, Molly “On field trips with the Cook County, at first they expected Taylor. Neighbours all knew each other in those days. We had the me to make the morning tea. I said, ‘No, I’ll open the gates, but church and later the community centre at St Nicholas Hall. If people I won’t make the morning tea.’ It was never easy. Some of them were leaving we had a party and we welcomed new people.”

GREAT ANGLE: Muriel with 2.55kg catch at lake Waikaremoana 1990.

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TERRIFIC TRIO: Muriel with her inspirational mentors Peggy Kaua (centre) and Frances Gregory in 1995.

were so rude to me. But that was the climate at that time, it really was no place for a woman. There were very few women in local government.” Muriel faced up to the prevailing chauvinistic attitudes, not by wielding the sharp sword of women’s liberation, but my using her natural intelligence and a belief in being prepared: “If something was coming up on the agenda, I would go and take a look at it and do my research. That was my only weapon, the power of being informed. To be effective I had to know what I was talking about.” While Muriel pursued her political life and Duff was promoted to chief engineer at the Catchment Board, the Joneses continued their passion for trout fishing and the outdoors. They had a boat and a permanent caravan at the camping ground at Home Bay, Lake Waikaremoana: “It was our balance. We were very busy. Duff was also president of Gisborne Rotary for two years and then started Gisborne West Rotary and Rotoract for young people. We tried to get away to the lake as much as possible. It was an escape from our professional and public lives.” It was only twelve months after Muriel had been elected to the county council when Duff suffered a debilitating stroke: “He was working over the road with Bill Veitch, we had a communal garden there. I was out canvassing for the council at the time. He was just 57. He was stopped in his tracks.” Duff never recovered fully. He stopped his professional life and stayed at home, but was recalled for a time to help after Cyclone Bola. In many ways Muriel had lost her intellectual friend and political ally. They also had financial commitments and she had to keep working to make ends meet: “We still had a mortgage, I couldn’t just give up. I was an elected councillor and I was teaching part time, I just had to cope. But I was really lucky to have been involved in the community, being with people, making a difference, perhaps. At least I could come home each night, very tired and sleep well.” Duff lived on, having several more smaller strokes, until he died in 1998. Muriel retired from the local body politics in 1995 after a heart operation. You would think that would have been a sign that said to Muriel: “Slow down, put your feet up, take a break from dealing with other people’s problems, look after yourself for a while.”

Not Muriel. After bowing out from district council duties, and despite the heart operation, Muriel waded in, sleeves rolled up, to do battle for a raft of community concerns. She became a member of the Gisborne Community Health Board; was elected chair of the St Nicholas Wainui Community Centre; made vice-president of the Gisborne-East Coast Multiple Sclerosis Society; became a board member of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New Zealand; made president and later secretary of the Gisborne Stroke Support Group; became a member of the Medical Council of New Zealand Competence Review Committee; became a trustee of the Disability Information Centre Trust; became a distribution committee member of the Community Organisation Grants Scheme; became a support worker at the Stewart Centre for Brain Injury; became a life member of the Gisborne Cycle and Walkway Trust To this very day she is actively involved as a member of numerous other organisations which include the Disability Support Advisory Committee; the Health of Older People Steering Group; the Positive Ageing Accord Action group; the GDC Disability Reference Group and there are probably others this reporter has missed — but you get the picture. Numerous awards have come Muriel’s way. These have included a Suffrage Centennial Medal for Services to Women; a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship; a life membership of the Gisborne Stroke Support Group; a long service award from the New Zealand Stroke Foundation and a GDC Citizen’s Civic Award for her community work in general. At 82 at her home in Lloyd George Road, surrounded by photographs of her life with Duff and her family, she is up early each day, on the computer, beavering her way through emails and correspondence from the various organisations she represents. One of her main concerns still, is the well-being of the Wainui beach community. Although many of her old friends have passed away or moved to retirement homes, she is totally up with the play with what’s going on at the beach and is concerned for the welfare of all who live here. She watched with uneasy anticipation as the community fought against the proposal to reticulate. She knew she would be one of the “older people” who would not survive the rates increases. It worried her so much that her health deteriorated. >>>

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UNDER THE CLOCK • GLADSTONE ROAD PHONE 868 9898 34 | beach/life

<<< She is now elated that the unfairness and unsoundness of the proposal was exposed by the community and eventually rejected by Council. “Wainui has had a rough deal all along. We have to pay the same rates as the city but we don’t get the same benefits. But the rejection of the reticulation proposal was the best thing that could have happened to us. Wainui can now look at the future and develop in an ordered way, instead off just slamming more houses on every half section. “I think the landscape and planning assessment undertaken by Sue Dick will be great help in determining the future. It has recognised that this is a special place. It so easy to ruin these sorts of places, just look around the world, around New Zealand; Papamoa’s a classic example. Why is Wainui so special?: “Because the people here, for the most part, are here because they love the environment. They’re not here to exploit the place or to make money from it’s continued development. If reticulation had gone ahead it would have been exploited, over-development would have been inevitable.” Is that not attempting to make Wainui continue living in the past?: “No. It’s living in the future, because we’re future-proofing it. We have people here who want to protect the place and improve on the special qualities of a small New Zealand beachside community.” So Muriel battles on. Her health is getting back to normal after the rejection of the reticulation proposal put her in hospital with a racing heart. Friend and former fellow Gisborne district councillor Raey Wheeler, owner of the Odeon Theatre says: “Muriel is the kind of person who, when she takes on something, makes sure she does it right. She gets out in the community and makes a difference – she isn’t one to just sit around a table talking. “She’s a wonderful person, she really has done so much for the community. And she’s a real family person. She adores her family. She was devoted to her husband Duff. She should be nominated for a really grand award. She’s still doing so much – I keep telling her to slow down.” When Muriel does slows down she does it mostly in her beloved vegetable garden. She grows most of her own vegetables and gives lots away. She spins and knits. She reads. But she always has her meetings to attend. “I still have a few crusades to fight. There are issues at the hospital. And since 1994 we have had plans for the Kaiti to Wainui Walkway and Cycle Track, and I’m still waiting. There are also various issues to do with disability and dangerous situations in the city for disabled people. I guess as I get older I start seeing things that aren’t right from the eyes of an older person. Often it’s just common sense.” Muriel’s other great interest is her family. Her grown up children and, particularly, her five grand children and one great grand child. And, ironically, for a person who has devoted most of her life to the empowerment of women — they are all boys. The young boys often come to stay for summer and over the years have brought their groups of friends. The house at the beach is often full and Muriel is seldom lonely. She goes to meetings, has numerous visitors and is a member of an informal “dining group” of friends who dine out at each others’ homes once or twice each week. Saint Muriel of Wainui Beach? Well, this reporter thinks pretty much so. It is so uncommon in this day and age to meet someone so selfless, who works tirelessly and consistently for the well-being of other people, asking few favours in return. And, at 82, where does she get the energy?

“Wainui Rescue” keeps beach safe for swimmers

our community Sharks and Demons

fly the footy flag

Wainui juniors Dawson and Mackie Logan. After 71 years of operation the success of the Wainui Surf Life Saving Club continues to grow due mainly to the strength of its voluntary members. Last season the club had over 130 members, including junior surf, associate members and active patrolling and competing members. The club is ultimately responsible for helping to keep the beach safe for the public with lifeguards setting a district record by putting in over 1700 voluntary patrol hours last summer. The club is run by an appointed committee of voluntary members. The current Managers are Rachael and Daniel Williams. Committee members include Kevin Mastrovich (President), Trevor Williams, Dion Williams, Jeremy Lockwood, Justin Martin, Mike King, Alan Bayliss, Steve Gibbs, Liz Brown, Murray Robertson, and Chrissy Andrews. Justin Martin is the Club Captain and facilitates the IRB program, Dion Williams is the Junior Surf Coach, Murray Robertson is Canoe Coach and a core group of parents and volunteers are responsible for the Sunday morning Nippers programme. Last summer 14 new club members sat their Bronze Medallion, some wanting to be involved in sport, others wanting to gain confidence and skills in the surf, and a group of mothers wanting to make sure they have the ability to ensure their children’s safety in the surf. Getting your bronze award doesn’t mean you have to compete or get yourself

a new pair of speedos, but it does give you valuable knowledge and skills, which prove invaluable for the life we love at the beach. Wainui Surf Club provides Nippers each Sunday morning beginning around November, Junior Surf programmes and coaching programmes. Competing in surf life saving events is another area which Wainui focuses on. Wainui has had some outstanding competitors and teams through the years and now have a great group of young competitors showing lots of promise. The conditions at Wainui can prove very challenging at times, but with coaching and training, competitors gain a lot of confidence in these conditions. Canoe and IRB are events that Wainui has always done well at and those traditions are continuing on today. The Surf Club is excited about the new clubhouse extension. The club is now bigger and better than ever. The members have great fun utilizing the club facilities, which is also available to hire for certain functions and conferences. Weddings are proving very popular, with couples enjoying a quality venue and great views over our beautiful beach. The Wainui Surf Life Saving Club is looking forward to another successful season and we would like to invite others to join up and become a part of the club. For further information about The Wainui Surf Life Saving Club please contact Rachael or Daniel Williams, 0276504330 or 8674554.

Also going strong after all these years is the Wainui Sports Club which fields teams for the Eastern League Football competition in Gisborne. It all started one night in the High School Old Boys rugby club rooms when a hard core of Wainuiians playing in a soccer team loosely attached to HSOB, and practising at Nelson Road, reckoned there should be enough interest to start a team based at Wainui. Julian Kohn, Peter Tate and Tom Grimson were amongst this bunch who led the breakaway to the beach. Around that time the Elmers were planning the Ocean Park subdivision and had to contribute so much of their property for a recreational reserve. Peter tate and Wayne Hastie lobbied the Council to make the reserve specific to a soccer field which proved successful. The Wainuiians had their own grounds. Lights were purchase by the club members in the mid-90s to allow for mid-week training. The lights are the property of the club who controls there use and pays the electricity charges. Around the turn of the millennium the club had grown to field three mens teams, first, second and third division – with a highlight being the winning of the Eastern League first division a couple of years ago. At one stage the club fielded a womens team and a cricket team in summer. According to stalwart Julian Kohn all teams have had success over the years being “there or thereabouts” in their respective divisions. This year they have two teams – Wainui Sharks in the 1st Division and Wainui Demons in the more social 3rd Division. On the subject of stalwarts, long playing members include Mike Vita, Noel Amor and Patrick McHugh. And of course the club will always remember one of its earliest founding members, Sandy Stirton. Each year they have an end of season wind up, usually at the Wainui surf club. Enquiries to Julian Kohn at 867 6537 or Mike Vita 867 6414. Mid-week training is underlights Wednesdays from 6.00pm.

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school report

Great school, great kids Wainui Beach School is the hub of the beach and a very fine school it is. The bell first rang in 1964 and the school has been going from strength to strength for 44 years. There are several residents still in the community who were first day pupils and can look back to when the school on Wairere Road was very much a quiet little country school. Today the school has eight classrooms and eight full-time teachers looking after around 210 children. Everyone associated with Wainui Beach School is absolutely passionate about it, and none more so than current principal Nolian Andrew. Nolian has a long association with the school, having first turned up here in the early 1980s, then just a few years out of training college. After 28 years here she claims Gisborne as her home town. But it’s Wainui Beach where her heart lies. She came for a year in 1982 under Jim Calder, when there were only four class rooms and 90 students, and “fell in love” with the school. Her teaching career took her away from Wainui until 2003 when she came back as acting principal while Andrea Ford took a year off to study. “It broke my heart to have to leave at the end of the year,” she says. “This was my dream school.” That dream was to come true two years later when Andrea Ford left the school to have a baby and Nolian was the successful applicant for the vacancy, starting work on the first day of the school year in 2006. “And I expect to be here for sometime,” she says with her feet firmly under the principal’s desk for nearly three years now. “It’s an exceptional school. It has a great reputation for the quality of its education and also for the really lovely children who attend.” “It doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to be done. There’s the challenge to keep doing really well, to keep being proactive. We have a really committed, hard working staff and enthusiastic support from the children’s families.” “There is a very positive feeling at this school. People who come into the school remark on it. There is a positive peer pressure amongst the students that is obvious in so many ways. The only time I see individual students in my office is usually to congratulate them on their good work!” “There are over 200 children at the school and I know every one of them by name, and just about all the parent’s names too. All the teachers here are the same. Children do come and go, but most of them stay at Wainui right through their primary school years, so you do get to know them very well.” Looking to the future Nolian doesn’t want to see the school get too much bigger where it may lose this closeness. It is hoped to keep the school roll at 238 maximum. For this reason new housing developments, particularly that at Sponge Bay Estate, are watched with interest. The arrival of new young families there could have a big impact on the school in the future. Even though Wainui is a now a zoneless school, the Sponge 36 | beach/life

IN CARING HANDS: Passionate about Wainui Beach School are principal, Nolian Andrew and office administrator, Margo Calcott. Bay development is within the old school zone. Wainui is popular with families not from the beach area with about a third of the roll coming from Gisborne city. Recently the school has had a physical makeover with new fencing and a new garden planted. The fence was paid for from a grant from the J.N. Williams Trust and was erected mostly to keep balls from being kicked onto the road, and less for security. Nolian points to Wainui being a “very safe” community where everyone keeps an eye out for the children. It is one school where the children are actively encouraged to walk to school. The “native garden makeover” was the result of being one of four schools nationwide out of 188 who won a Project Crimson Competition. The project, the work of 50 or so volunteers who turned out for a working bee in April, saw the creation of a bushclad area along the front boundary, which is hoped will attract native birds and offer the children a place to learn, relax and play. And so the school continues. There is good sporting tradition with the school fielding several soccer teams, a rugby team and a netball team this winter. And in summer interest usually turns to the beach with the school having a strong surfing group, others go to Wainui nippers and the school has three or four cricket teams. The big interest at the school this year is hip-hop dancing. Wainui Beach staff 2008: Principal, Nolian Andrew; Deputy Principal, Francis Rowland (on study leave); Acting Deputy Principal, Jo Arnold; Acting Assistant Principal, Gillian Hoy; Office Administrator, Margo Calcott. Class teachers: Storm Dunn with trainee Diego Pedrioli, Jo Arnold, Tim Donnell, Heidi Rice, Emma Gibson, Katie Knight, Lil Rangihuna, Liesje Bartie, Gillain Hoy. Part timers: Sandra Cooper, Jodie Saunders, Sandra Cooper, Kelsey Benson, Anne Fitzharris. Reading recovery, Katie Knight; Specialist teacher, Gina Robinson. Teacher’s aids: Barbara Harris, Marie Paddock, Wendy Glasgow Caretaker is Shawn Collier and cleaner Pat McCormack.

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the Girls under 12 division. Hannah’s smooth style and keen attitude should see her progress well in future events. Hannah is surfing well for her age and can be found surfing around the district in all conditions. Other Gisborne standouts were Jayda Martin-Fitzharris who won the Girls under 14 division and also placed 3rd in the Girls under 16 division. Chloe Shutt placed 3rd in the under 14 Girls division. Two Wainui surfers, Maz Quinn and Jared Ferris, have been selected to compete in the New Zealand team at the ISA World Surfing Games which are being held in Costa De Caparica from the 10th-19th October. Costa where? (The first grommet to come over and tell me, correctly, what country Costa De Caparica is in will win a free block of wax.) Hi there, beach residents and local surfers! I’ve been asked to write a bit about the local surf scene for Beach/Life. So here goes. If you’re a surfing school kid or teacher, or were able to get some time off work over the school holiday period, you would definitely be celebrating more than just the scraping of the reticulation proposal.

The ISA World Surfing Games are a prestigious biennial event known also as the Olympics of surfing. Each country sends a team with 4 open surfers, 2 women, 1 longboarder and 2 bodyboarders. The event is open to amateur surfers only. Maz Quinn is now officially retired as a professional surfer and

Waves around the Wainui area were nothing short of spectacular with medium sized SE swells being fanned by very light offshore winds for 12 days straight! One greedy teacher managed 2 surfs on nearly every one of those days. Young Wainui Grommets revelled in the conditions and had over a week to prepare for event two of the Rip Curl Grom Search Competition, a very successful national series run by Surfing NZ, that arrived here for the final weekend of the school holidays. The local boys and girls must have been stoked when Wainui was chosen, as the venue as the home advantage is invaluable in this sport. Young Johnny Hicks (Wainui Beach) took control of the under 16 Boys final and comfortably smoked the country’s finest Grommet Searchers to make it back-to-back wins in the Under 16 Boys division, having won the previous event ten weeks ago in Taranaki. Conditions for the final were probably the worst of the day with the swell dieing and the tide filling in, making only the occasional set waves worth surfing. Johnny was patient and carefully placed himself in the right place at the right time, executing a series of sharp, vertical and controlled backhand snaps to finish with a score of 13.0, well ahead of 2nd place getter, Tane Wallis (Piha) who scored 9.45. Adam Grimson (Wainui Beach) managed to finish 3rd in the highly competitive under 14 Boys division. Adam was a little unlucky with this result, his form leading up to the final and recent free surfing performances have been excellent. Hannah Kohn (Wainui Beach) was another young resident finalist in

Adam Grimson.

38 | beach/life

Johnny Hicks. won the Surfing New Zealand Corona Crown series this year so is heading away for a shot at an ISA World Surfing Title. New Zealand finished 12th in 2006 and with Maz on board the team is looking stronger this year. Bodyboarding legend Jared Ferris is the second Wainui member of the team and he has been training hard with his good mates Reuben and Nathan Quirk out the front at Okitu. Jared is looking sharp and in very good form at present, showing excellent wave selection and nice combinations of critical turns both in prone and drop-knee. We wish the Wainui boys well and know they will represent Okitu Assassins and Stock Route Mafia with pride! Three Raglan surfers round out our open men’s team in the form of Luke Cederman, Leon Santorik and Zennor Wernham. Wernham being the most experienced at this event, as this will be his 4th time he has earned selection and competed. Stephen Roberts is back (excuse the pun) after run in with a particularly gnarly White Fence sand dredger that saw him impact upon the sand with serious consequences. Steve broke one of the bones in his back and was hospitalised, spending some 4 weeks in a brace. Not one to let injuries slow him down Steve gave the full body and neck brace an early flick just in time for the school holidays and is back to full strength. ACC were not secretly filming when Steve was spotted with father John clearing trees off his Wainui Beach section during the second week of the school holidays.

Steve Roberts.

Jared Ferris.

Kiwi Surfing Magazines chief photographer for the past decade Cory Scott has moved to Gisborne from Mt Maunganui. I cannot disclose his actual address, as he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want any more beer bribes for shots. Cory is watching his waistline and back into the gymnastics full time. Cory is still contracted to Kiwi Surfing Magazine and will be shooting all local rippers. The Gisborne Boardriders Club has increased its membership and the base of Gisborneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s surfing talent by introducing the grommet comps and coaching events run by Fitz, Heather Kohn and many other motivated parents. It was amazing to see nearly 40 kids in competition shirts regularly competing in individual under 14, under 12, under 10 and tag team events at Pipe, Northerns and Stock Route throughout the winter season. Finally, if you have any surf news for me I would love to hear from you and publish your stories or results in the next issue. And remember the best waves are in winter and the water temperature is hovering at a slightly warmer than usual 14 degrees! So wack on some good rubber and get out there before the crowds, sea breezes and tiny waves return in October. K.R.

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The Way It Was

FLASHBACK: The original Wainui Beach surf life saving clubhouse at Okitu circa 1937. The near building was the clubhouse with the boat shed built alongside and the patrol tower on the dunes above. Club member Jack Campbell is pictured. The Wainui SLSC is now in its 71st year.

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BeachLife #1  

Issue 1 of BeachLife Magazine, spring 2008