It is hard to believe months have passed since parts of the country were subjected to mother nature’s recent storms. Tāwharanui did not escape the onslaught and suffered significant damage, but got off relatively lightly compared to other places in the region and the country.
The torrential rains of Auckland Anniversary weekend brought dune damage, sand ladders washed out, slips, new lakes appeared and the pest fence sustained some damage. Staff and volunteers rallied the following week and most of the necessary work was done to allow visitors a safe passage for Waitangi weekend.
Who would have thought that all that remediation would be undone two weeks later! Plus, even greater damage to the park and Takatu Rd, and so the park was closed. Larissa, our Community Ranger describes her experience: “Along with no power or water the park suffered some serious damage. Trees were down across all our accessways, buildings and paddocks had flooded, slips had taken over several of our tracks, entire traplines washed away, beach accessways were decimated and the dunes had taken on new shapes. Staff spent two weeks chain sawing fallen trees, clearing tracks, roads, carparks and fences (including our predator fence). Without power our pest gates didn’t operate, we had no access to potable water and our septic systems weren’t pumping. After 10 days power was returned to the park, and we could open to the public. However, we still didn’t have water so we couldn’t open our campground, bach or the flushing toilets at Anchor Bay. It wasn’t until 3 weeks after the storm all our water facilities were back up and running again. There is still more to be done but a massive thank you to our incredible staff, volunteers and contractors that got our park up and running again.”
Tāwharanui is nearly back to normal, so we count ourselves very fortunate. Our thoughts are with those from elsewhere whose damage and issues far exceed ours. Their recovery will take months, maybe years and it is important we all remember and support them as the Cyclone Gabrielle impacts lose prominence in the news cycle.
But for us at Tāwharanui, as our Senior Ranger, Matt Maitland expresses, “The beauty of the land endures and nature will heal, with some help from us all.”