Season’s Greetings to you all! I wish you all a fantastic summer and festive season. Lockdowns and restrictions illustrate to us just how much value the TOSSI membership bring to the park and open sanctuary. We really do notice the absence of voluntary pest control, fence checking, wildlife
management and park maintenance.

We keep up as best we can with our ranger team, but we are very grateful to have the volunteer workforce returning and catching up on tasks, and also catching up and reconnecting personally with so many wonderful people. It gives life to the proverb “He aha te mea nui o tea o? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people, it is people, it is people.”

Volunteering comes in all sizes and styles. We often make the effort to thank key and obvious roles like fence checkers and trappers and takahē trackers. We also value those who toil away at smaller park improvement projects such as those led by Roger Williams and his midweek volunteer gang. Another honourable mention goes to your editor-come-tractor driver and general doer, Marguerite who has been providing wonderful support to Maurice and the rangers with many but important tasks to keep the place close to manageable. Thank you to you all!

Tāwharanui, along with our other regional parks have been incredibly popular as greater freedoms have become available under the changing alert levels and new Covid protection framework.

Car counters for November show a 40 per cent increase over last November and we have experienced several peak days similar to the height of summer. We’ve seen those visitors enjoying the fruits of success of the open sanctuary as well as the usual attractions of a stunning coastline. Year on year we see more visitors venturing beyond the beach and targeting wildlife spotting and photographic opportunities.

Although the park is getting busier each year, there are still opportunities to experience the park without feeling overwhelmed. Weekends, public holidays and midday are peak periods. Outside of these peak times you can have wonderful experiences with morning bird or bush walks before the day heats up or linger for an evening picnic.

We try to ensure the park and open sanctuary meet the future needs of Aucklanders. Council staff, including park rangers and many specialists, have worked hard on the Regional Parks Management Plan. The draft plan has been approved by the Parks, Arts, Community and Events committee of
Council and will be available online for public consultation from December 10 through to March 4. Make your comments here>>>

If you have an interest in the future direction of Tāwharanui, please make time to have a look and have your say. It covers all manner of park management values and actions that align with and support
existing TOSSI projects and new TOSSI proposals such as wetland restoration of Road Flats between Anchor Bay and the lagoon, and a suggested education and information centre.

There are specific management intentions for our ecosystems and species within the park. Two that are worth singling out are the protection of the dunes from weeds and rabbits as one of the best examples of an east coast dune system in the region. We know rabbit control has been lagging and we are set to reinvigorate this in the new year. Another ecosystem of note is the north coast pōhutukawa forest, again one of the better regional examples of this community.

Noting that intention to protect and nurture pōhutukawa, our summer icon and New Zealand Christmas tree, it is time to wish you all Meri Kirihimete and thank you for your support this year.

Matt Maitland