Mahurangi Matters, 20 December 2021 – Readers Letters

Elitist threat

Be careful what you wish for. Move all the power behind the Kawau Boating Club (KBC) into the hands of money and developers (MM Dec 6), and you will have a high-end club targeted at an elite group of mainland yachties and launch owners who visit on an irregular basis. Envisage a Hamilton Island-style regatta and what you start to see is something exclusive – a Hamilton Island-style resort, with designer extensions, members’ only lounges, luxury villas on land extending behind the existing club, membership requiring nomination and high fees and further land developments. When a long-time rural boating club goes upmarket, it loses sight of its valuable role in the lives of local residents and the general boating public who relish its welcoming and easy, casual atmosphere. Promote what you’ve got and people will support a club that gives them both tangible and intangible benefits. This club and its amenities are the only facilities for the boating public on an island in the Hauraki Gulf that are operated by a club and which offer all-weather shelter. The club provides the only facilities operating for the benefits of Kawau Islanders – a population of permanent residents and owners of many holiday dwellings reliant on water access. The aim of the KBC should be strengthening what it does best – contributing to the social fabric of Kawau Island and connectedness between Islanders, local boaties and the cruising fraternity, who spend summers around the Hauraki Gulf. Destroy what has become a powerful community glue, and you risk losing priceless social capital from this community hub – where people come together, build relationships and network to get things done. Is it too idealistic to value KBC’s community spirit – the heartbeat of this island community? Not according to strong scientific evidence about the capacity of such clubs to build social capital – making our lives healthier, safer and richer. The soul of this unique club needs to come from the island, not from Auckland City. 

Elspeth Macdonald, KBC Member, currently in Sandspit

Sand debate

You published articles written respectively by Callum McCallum, of McCallum Bros Ltd (MBL), and Ken Rayward, on behalf of the Save our Sands group (MM Nov 22). The articles were written in the context of MBL’s recent applications for resource consents in in-shore and mid-shore areas of the Mangawhai-Pakiri Embayment. Submissions on those applications closed on December 10. However, Mr. Rayward’s article contains a number of factual errors, which in the interests of accuracy in a matter of public interest, I wish to correct. In doing so, I shall be very brief as some of the claims made by Mr. Rayward concern matters that are currently under consideration by the panel of independent commissioners, who are hearing the application made by Kaipara Ltd for a consent for sand extraction in off-shore areas of the Embayment. MBL took over that application from Kaipara in September of this year, and it would be inappropriate for me to enter into any debate on the merits of points on which the commissioners will soon be making their decision. Mr. Rayward alleges that during the current hearing of Kaipara’s application, MBL (which gave evidence as a submitter on Kaipara Ltd’s application) denied the existence of off-shore trenches caused by dredging. That is quite wrong. At the commencement of its case, MBL advised that it had known about the trenches since 2018 and at that time understood that they were consistent with the pattern of dredging  permitted by the  relevant conditions of consent. Mr. Rayward also makes allegations about the depth of the trenches. I know of no evidence that supports his claims, but advise that the trenches have recently been re-surveyed at the suggestion of the commissioners under the supervision of a group of experts who are in the course of providing their conclusions to the commissioners. It follows that an up-to-date understanding of the depth and significance of the trenches will shortly be available. Mr. Rayward alleges that MBL has claimed that the construction sector wants only Mangawhai-Pakiri sand. This is nonsense. MBL’s concern is that Pakiri sand is particularly suitable for concrete making and that the concrete industry is in need of good quality sand for infrastructural concrete requirements. Alternative sources of sand are either not suitable for these applications or have higher environmental or economic costs associated with their use. Other claims made by Mr. Rayward, such as the impact of sand extraction on fairy terns, replenishment of sand to the beach and impact on Maori are all the subject of various shades of evidence to the commissioners. Their decision on these matters will, no doubt, be of great interest to all parties.

Callum McCallum, managing director McCallum Bros

Vigilant on virus

I’m really grateful to Mahurangi Matters that you now have people wearing masks for photographs in your paper. We don’t want the virus to spread through you guys!

Urs Bauer, Warkworth

Missing persons

I am trying to track down some relatives who I believe now live in Warkworth – Ian and Carole Robertson. They did live in the Kaipara Flats area and had a house up on a hill there. We visited and were in regular contact up until around 2016 or 17. Sadly, they had to move due to ill health. My understanding is that they sold up and moved to a smaller house in Warkworth. I have tried Facebook and White Pages but no joy. Carole was always good at keeping in touch but she had poor health, so we do not have any forwarding information at all. They would be in their late 70s or even 80s now and we would love to know if they are okay. They have good friends called Ros Aldam and Grant Clark. They definitely were living in Warkworth at last point of contact as we visited them when we were last in New Zealand in 2015. I don’t know if you have any ideas to help us find them, we would love to know they are okay, especially with Covid. 

Sue Gilbert (previously Robertson), Olney, UK.  

Anyone with information on the Robertsons should email Sue:

Dog rules

I appeal to all dog owners. From December 1, all dogs are permitted on Rodney beaches and reserves before 10am and after 5pm. The hours between 10am and 5pm are for those who like to walk without fear of uncontrolled dogs. I am one of those people, but on the three days I walked after the law changed, I was not able to experience a dog-free walk. On one occasion, a dog dashed into the middle of our group having a picnic and caused an injury, which drew blood. If we are to have dog laws, then they have to be effective. I suggest at the very least large, more prominent signs in more places so people might notice and read them. I also suggest the presence of a dog ranger on all beaches at the beginning of each season to talk to people about acting responsibly when they are not and offer encouragement to those who are, and the return of the ranger at periodic intervals through the season. As a last resort, there should be substantial fines for repeat offenders. I can’t see the point of having any laws when they are not policed adequately. I would like to have some freedom to walk on the beach without fear of injury to improve my health. I have made these suggestions to Council and hope by writing this letter I can make more people aware of obeying the laws and considering others.

Sandy Garman, Algies Bay

In 2019, Auckland Council introduced a bylaw to prohibit dogs from some beaches, parks and reserves from 10am to 5pm, from December 1 to March 1. To check dog rules at a specific beach or reserve, visit

More on mystery man

In regard to my letter End of an Era, (MM Dec 6), thanks to Noelle Lipinski (née Lawrie) and Ella Canal (née Wynyard), I can now add more details about the bearded old man who used to sit under the pepper tree outside the Warkworth Pub. He was an Estonian called Eugene Busche, but known to the Mahurangi fraternity as “Bob”. He squatted in a derelict old house on the Nelson Lawrie farm down near Scotts Landing. When the cream cans from the farm were ready to be loaded onto the cream launch, he would relieve Mr Lawrie of the job of rowing them out mid-stream to meet the launch. He would then tie his dinghy to the mooring and cadge a lift up to Warkworth on the launch. In those days there was little else to entertain a small child, so I can’t believe that I had forgotten the fact that he had a wooden leg!

Maureen Young, Warkworth