Coast Care is a coastal restoration programme, run in close partnership with local communities, care groups and schools, that aims to restore and protect the sand dunes along our Bay of Plenty beaches.
There are 25 groups throughout the Bay of Plenty who all help to make sure sand dunes are not lost to erosion, weather or careless management.
Who is involved?
Volunteers who care about our coastal environment like residents, beach users and schools, give their time and expertise to looking after our dunes. Council provides most of the funding for Coast Care groups, as well as other resources and educational tools.
All four coastal district and city councils (Western Bay of Plenty, Tauranga, Ōpōtiki and Whakatāne) and the Department of Conservation are also involved in the programme. Coast Care volunteers help with beach clean-ups, planting native dune plants, managing the spread of weeds and pests, fencing and much more. Coast Care offers advice on reducing erosion through planting and also provides resources such as native plants and fertiliser. Part of Coast Care’s role is also to educate people on why caring for our dunes is such an important part of protecting our beaches and that we all have a responsibility to our environment.
Why do we need to look after our dunes?
The dunes are the backbone of our beaches, the buffer between the land and the sea. Healthy dunes are wide, gently sloping and have many dune plants to help anchor them. We now know that native dune plants play a vital role in maintaining the dunes, binding light blowing sand onto the beach, and making stable sand dunes. Without these plants, the sand blows away and dunes disappear - leaving the land vulnerable to weather and wave surges.
The popularity of our beaches, changing climate, pests and development pressure are all affecting the health of our coast, particularly dunes. This makes the work of Coast Care groups even more important in making sure our beaches remain for many more years to come.
Dunes not only provide a buffer between land and sea, they also play an important part of New Zealand’s coastal biodiversity and we have a responsibility to make sure they are protected.
Life's a Beach Education teacher resource
Life's a Beach is a teaching resource about the beach environment - the sea, beach, sand dunes, dune vegetation and reserve areas. The resource covers a wide range of curriculum areas with an emphasis on science and social science. The resource can be used (or adapted for use) for levels two - eight.
Check out the Life's a Beach resource in our teacher resources section.