Remembering Pūkorokoro, Recreational Biking Strategy update, key news
Published on 03 November 2023
The latest from Mayor Len
On Tuesday at our Council meeting we got a very clear mandate from the iwi members and leaders of our Māori communities in support of Māori wards for our district. It was an emotional and moving event, one that left me immensely proud of these community members to share their stories and views.
What has not been in place before this important decision is a Māori representative voice around the Council table. One with equal decision-making authority to the other Councillors in our district. We do not and cannot speak for Māori, and yet every decision that we make at the Council table affects Māori as well as all our other residents and ratepayers.
There is no requirement under the Local Electoral Act for engagement on Māori wards before making a decision to have them, but it was essential to gauge the sentiment of the community most affected by the decision – whichever way the vote went. So as part of the preparation for Tuesday’s vote, Council staff and some of our elected members undertook a series of informal hui and engagements with iwi from across the district to gauge the appetite for the potential inclusion of a Māori ward seat.
This took place at a time when our Council had limited resources available given the pressing need to focus on our cyclone recovery programme. The critical part that iwi, marae and community groups played in our cyclone response and recovery only served to highlight the essential role that iwi play in keeping our communities safe in times of crisis.
We had received clear messages from our communities that there was a critical need for Council to focus at this time on roading rebuilds, stormwater, coastal recovery, resilience, solid waste and direct support to businesses affected by road closures. Our priorities over the last several months have been on these recovery programmes, and that focus continues.
Now, this Council has made the historic decision that will go a long way towards forming a strong and beneficial partnership with the iwi of Hauraki and the Coromandel. One that will benefit every single one of us, now and into the future. One that will benefit the children who might one day be sitting around the Council table or in my seat. This is not the end of the process, this the beginning of a truly meaningful partnership where we continue to work together on every level for the benefit of our communities.
In recent weeks we have seen the councils in Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and Waikato districts vote to include Māori wards. Our nearest neighbours have taken steps to recognise the importance of these partnerships and representation. We are proud to be part of this working relationship between our iwi partners, our regional council neighbours and our Coromandel communities.
Highlights from this week's Council meeting
Our Council decides to establish Māori ward or wards
In a unanimous vote on Tuesday, our Council voted that a Māori ward or wards be established in the Thames-Coromandel District in time for the 2025 local elections.
Under the Local Electoral Act, this decision now triggers a representation review that will consider the detail of the wards, such as how many and their names and boundaries, and how many councillors in total we will have. This review process is clearly set-out under the Act and will involve considerable public consultation. However, the review process does not revisit the decision to have Māori wards.
The representation review must be concluded by 31 July 2024. This week's decision means our district will have a Māori ward or wards for at least the 2025 and 2028 local elections.
The vote was held in front of a Council Chamber packed with community members, iwi and Māori leaders from across the district. At least a dozen people stood before our Council and spoke in support of establishing Māori wards. The meeting was recorded and you can listen to their comments and the discussion of our Mayor Len Salt and Councillors before voting. That recording will be available later today on our website at tcdc.govt.nz/meetings.
Council endorses Hauraki-Coromandel Recreational Biking Strategy
The Hauraki-Coromandel Recreational Biking Strategy was endorsed by our Council in its meeting this week, following community engagement, which showed high levels of support and enthusiasm towards its goals and vision.
The Strategy was initially developed by our regional destination management organisation, Destination Hauraki-Coromandel, to understand how mountain biking and cycling experiences in the Coromandel can be improved and developed. It aims to drive collaboration to achieve the following vision:
"The Coromandel is explored more sustainably by connecting communities and showcasing our environment to become a nationally significant mountain bike destination by 2032. Collaboratively, our goal is to create a world-class trail network and experience that preserves and enhances the environment for our residents, visitors and all who experience them.”
The Strategy presents a broad vision, rather than outlining specific areas of development. Before being endorsed by Council we gathered feedback from communities and community board members. The final version of the Strategy has been adapted to incorporate this feedback.
Overall, the majority of feedback was positive and constructive, showing substantial community support for, and interest in, the draft Hauraki-Coromandel Biking Strategy. The successful implementation of the Strategy will require collaboration, efficient governance, community engagement and strategic planning. A snapshot of feedback can be found below:
- 564 survey responses were recorded.
- 89 percent of respondents supported the Strategy's overall vision.
- 88 percent supported the Strategy's wellbeing goals.
- 65 percent of non-cycling locals supported the vision.
- Over half of respondents said they would be more likely to visit new places within the region if trails were developed.
- 90 percent of respondents felt it was important to develop the trail network.
- Respondents believed it would be best to utilise a range of funding sources to sustain development.
Budget approved for July 2023 storm roading repairs
At its meeting our Council also approved additional funding of $2,714,323 for initial response and permanent reinstatement work for roads damaged in the July 2023 storm. Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency has approved funding in principle (subject to site inspections) of $3,482,309.
The storm of 20-21 July caused significant flooding and slips throughout our network of local Council roads with closures, trees down and damage. All roads were reopened within one day. There are 13 long-term permanent repair sites from this storm.
Check the comprehensive report to our Council for details on the budget figures and the damaged sites, including photos.
He Rā Maumahara | remembering Pūkorokoro
Council staff and Councillor Martin Rodley joined over 200 Ngāti Paoa and guests this Friday in commemorating the 160th anniversary of an unprovoked, brutal attack against local iwi during the New Zealand land wars.
On 3 November 1863, the warship HMS Miranda and two other ships shelled Ngāti Paoa kāinga | homes at Pūkorokoro, up the western coast of the Firth of Thames, killing many men, women and children, and causing the rest of the inhabitants to flee.
The unjustified attack was part of a campaign to take over land, set up military redoubts and quash Māori Kingitanga resistance. The events that day were key to land confiscation that took place in the whole of Pūkorokoro, Maramarua, Wharekawa and Hunua on the western front of Hauraki.
For the past four years Ngāti Paoa from Makomako Marae have led Waitakaruru School and whānau on a hīkoi | walk to the local maunga | mountain (Rātāroa), marae (Makomako), awa | river (Pūkorokoro), and moana | sea (Tīkapa), sharing kōrero | stories around the history of these spaces.
Friday was dedicated to educating tamariki | children from local schools and the community about this significant historical chapter, ensuring they remember the past that shaped our community.
Many thanks to Ngāti Paoa for organising the event, including wāhine affiliated with Wharekawa and Makomako Marae, supported by the Ngāti Paoa Iwi Trust, and the local community.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and questions on our Long Term Plan
We recently held a series of drop-in sessions for elected members and senior staff to hear from communities across all our wards. We also held an online session, which you can view by clicking here. Thanks to everyone who joined us and shared their feedback.
What's in the LTP?
- The big issues our Council will be facing over the next 10 years.
- Information about activities, facilities and services we are planning to deliver, and how.
- Key capital works and operational projects we are prioritising over the next 10 years.
- How our projects and services will be funded.
- What your rates are likely to be for the next 10 years.
- Details of our financial performance.
- A formal auditor’s opinion.
What key issues are we facing in our Long Term Plan?
We know that this coming LTP will be focused on recovery from the extreme weather earlier this year and building resilience into the infrastructure and facilities our Council provides, as well as enabling that same recovery and resilience in our communities. Some of the things we’re considering are:
• How we’ll help to shape resilient and connected communities.
• Implementing some of the actions identified by our Shoreline Management Pathways project, which will help us manage our response to coastal hazards.
• Rebuilding and improving our roading and infrastructure so it is better placed to withstand future weather events.
• Supporting economic recovery and resilience through funding, projects and partnerships.
We’re still working on our LTP budgets and priorities and will be formally consulting our community in March/April next year about what we’re proposing.
Moanataiari residents consider sea wall improvement options
Around 60 people attended a public meeting in Thames this week, jointly organised by our Council and the Moanataiari Residents’ Committee, to consider options for enhancing Moanataiari’s sea wall.
A recently completed five-yearly inspection and performance review of the Moanataiari Inundation Protection Scheme, or sea wall, conducted by engineering firm Tonkin and Taylor, found the wall is currently performing well but will require upgrades to extend its life span beyond 2036.
Providing options for improvements to the sea wall are part of the adaptation pathway for Moanataiari that resulted from our Council’s three-year Shoreline Management project.
Our Council’s project leader Amon Martin told the meeting that improving the sea wall is of high importance and is being considered as part of Council’s Long Term Plan.
“We recognise the importance of protecting Moanataiari and we’re reassured from the recent performance review indicating the wall is providing the level of service it was designed to provide. However, there’s always residual risk, or risk of a ‘greater than design’ event occurring. Looking ahead, additional investment is required so we can continue to manage risk to Moanataiari appropriately,” he says.
The Moanataiari Residents’ Committee has been leading community engagement on the options for sea wall improvement, and helped organise the meeting to ensure residents could understand the options and express their views.
Mental health boost for the Coromandel
Last week, Mike King and Richie Barnett visited the Coromandel to talk about mental health and Gumboot Friday – their charity which connects young people with mental health support.
They visited Coromandel Town, Whitianga, Thames, Whangamatā and Tairua, holding free public talks, plus chats with local rangatahi and visits to community groups. People had the chance to learn more about the change needed in this space, ask Mike and Richie questions and share their own experiences.
Richie also joined some Whangamatā locals for a mountain bike ride – it was his first-time mountain biking and he loved it.
These events were held as part of our Council’s Recovery Plan and funded through the Ministry of Primary Industries’ North Island Weather Event fund.
Gumboot Friday offers free counselling, which is available for anyone aged 25 and under who needs support. This service is designed to take the pressure off central services and offer a solution for young people facing long wait times. Counsellors are available for face to face or digital sessions. People are encouraged to search the database to find a counsellor who meets their needs.
Today, Friday 3 November, is Gumboot Friday’s big fundraising drive, to help fund as many counselling services as possible. Visit Gumboot Friday’s website to donate or find out more.
Post-storm clean-up of reserves
Clean-up of our Council’s Whitianga and Mercury Bay reserves affected by this week’s storm is underway in a staged process. A lot of debris has been blown onto these areas and we’re working hard to clear walkways and public accessways to ensure they’re safe.
At the moment, ground conditions are too wet for machinery. More rain is forecast. Tides are still big until next week, so some damaged beach accessways may only be repaired and accessed once the sea conditions have changed and sand levels returned.
We are aware there is a significant amount of windblown sand and some damaged beach accessways along our south-east coast including Cooks Beach, Flaxmill Bay, Pāuanui and Whangamatā. Staff will be assessing these issues and completing repair and clean-up work over the next few weeks.
The clean-up will take time and we appreciate your patience. If you have any health and safety concerns about our reserves, please contact us and lodge a Request for Service. www.tcdc.govt.nz/rfs
Whangamatā dune plantings hold up through storm
The dune restoration on the south beach at Whangamatā has held up well to the affects of ex-Tropical Cyclone Lola. There’s around five per cent loss of sand and plants due to a small amount of wash out, and a certain amount of wind-blown sand.
Our coastal science team has met with a fencing contractor and digger operator to work on cleaning up the wind blow. The fencing will help reduce this issue in future.
Overall, there’s been no loss of infrastructure and no loss of private property. While the dune restoration is not fully functional yet, it has achieved its purpose. Functionality and self-repair will start to occur when the dune plantings are fully established in 6 to 12 months.
Want to reduce summer water restrictions? Get a rainwater tank now
Rainwater tanks allow you to capture rain off your roof and store it for use during hot summer days when water restrictions may be in place.
The process is simple. Simply decide where you want to put your tank, talk to your local manufacturer about colour, size, cost and delivery, and check if your tank needs any Council consents.
A building consent is not required if the tank meets the requirements for capacity and height-above-ground. For example, the NZ Building Act allows tanks not exceeding 35,000 litres not plumbed into a house as drinking water which is supported directly by ground to be installed 1.5 metres from the boundary without building consent. Tanks supported on a structure have limits on size before they need consent.
For more information on saving water, visit www.tcdc.govt.nz/savewater
Dogs must always be on lead while in urban areas
Love walking your dog in town? Make sure they are always on lead. This applies to all urban areas like town centres and roads.
The most important rule to remember is that dogs must be on lead unless specified otherwise. So, when in doubt, put your dog on a lead.
Our compliance team will be out educating our community on our local bylaw. Avoid a $300 fine by following the rules and grab a free dog lead from one of the team to help you comply.
When you’re in an off-leash area, make sure to still have your lead on hand just in case.
Safety tips for setting off fireworks
Fireworks pose a high fire risk and have been known to cause wildfires.
Fire and Emergency NZ are urging people to think carefully before using fireworks and recommend people attend public displays instead.
They have concerns about the risk fireworks pose especially during hot, windy and dry conditions. This time of year is often windy in many parts of New Zealand, and as summer approaches, vegetation in some areas is drying out and becoming more flammable.
While we have experienced a couple of cool, wet summers, this year the forecast El Niño weather pattern may mean hotter, drier and windier conditions to eastern areas of both islands.
Before you start, check the conditions, and where and when you can let off fireworks:
Safety equipment and processes
- Check the conditions: Don’t light fireworks in windy or dry conditions.
- Pick a safe spot: Light your fireworks in a wide-open area, away from anything that could catch fire, like dry grass, leaves, crops, hedges, shelter belts or flammable gases or liquids.
- Have safety gear nearby: Keep a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher handy.
- Adults-only: Children should be kept a safe distance away.
- Point them to the stars: Fireworks shouldn’t be pointed at people, pets or at anyone’s homes – in fact, don’t hold them in your hand to light them at all, unless they are designed for that e.g. sparklers.
- Dispose safely: Soak fireworks in water before throwing them out.
- We know people buy fireworks at Guy Fawkes and store them away to light over the summer months – last year there were several fires caused by fireworks over the New Year period. We urge people to not do this.
- If you must use fireworks at Guy Fawkes, use them carefully. Go to checkitsalright.nz to check the conditions and guidance on how to lessen the risk of fire and injury when lighting fireworks. This will not eliminate the risk of fire or injury, however.
Building Code update: protection from fire
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has updated the Building Code requirements on protection from fire for residential buildings. You can read about the decision here.
Interconnected smoke alarms will be adopted as the minimum fire safety system in new household units. Interconnected means that, when one alarm is activated, all of them will sound. There will be a 12-month transition period ending in November 2024, at which point every new home constructed must have interconnected alarms.
Some key points to know:
• The alarms must be in all bedrooms, living spaces, hallways and landings and on each level of a multi-level home.
• Alarms must be mounted within 10m of each other in any direction.
• Where a kitchen is separated from living spaces and hallways by closable doors, an alarm suitable for kitchens (which may be a heat alarm) must be installed in the kitchen.
• The alarms can be hard wired or operated with a long-life (minimum 10-year) sealed and non-removable battery. Where hard wired, they must be tested and certified by a licensed electrician.
• The interconnection between the alarms can be wired or wireless and they can be incorporated into a security system.
• Alarms with long-life batteries must be replaced by the manufacturer’s replacement date or when the indicator shows low battery, whichever comes first.
Opportunities at our Council
At our Council we ensure work-life balance is not just a dream but a reality.
We offer an array of staff benefits including; flexible work arrangements, relocation allowance, free parking, sick leave on commencement of employment and more.
Job opportunities currently advertised are:
• Governance Advisor
• Assurance Business Partner
Or if there are currently no vacancies that fit your skillset and knowledge, please let us know by completing an expression of interest application via the link below.
For more information or to apply visit joinourteam.co.nz.
Council Customer Services: Christmas and New Year’s hours
Our Council offices will be closed from 12 noon Friday, 22 December 2023, reopening to normal hours on Wednesday 3 January 2024.
Customers can still contact us 24/7 on 07 868 0200 or email – email@example.com
This 6- to 8-month-old male puppy is very quiet and chilled that loves playing with people or sleeping beside you. He also loves cuddles when he gets to know you. Although he's small now, he's going to be a big boy.
If you are interested in adopting a dog, please contact us on 07 868 0200. Once your interest is known a Dog Control Officer will be in contact with you to discuss the adoption and carry out the appropriate checks, this may include a visit to your property.
Please note that some people may not be acceptable for adoptions and that we reserve the right to make decisions on the most suitable homes for any dogs available for adoption.
If your adoption is successful, you will be required to register and microchip the dog prior to taking it home.
We also send this update as an email. To receive it, visit www.tcdc.govt.nz/subscribe