Te Rauone beach is located near the end of Otago Peninsula, 2 km from Taiaroa Head and 28 km from the Dunedin city centre.
Over the past 6 decades, the sea has eroded Te Rauone beach to such an extent that, particularly north of the Reserve, areas that were above the high water mark are now underwater at low tide. As the erosion moves southwards, the sand dunes are diminishing.
The community has lost not only the beach and dunes, but also the community activities that take place on the beach. The erosion has been a long-standing problem and is a challenging issue for the community to live with. There is a degree of frustration and despondency amongst the residents that no solution has yet been forthcoming. However, the Breakwater / Sand Nourishment Project offers a long-awaited solution.
Te Rauone Reserve At Risk
The Reserve has no protective walls and is continuing to be eroded at an accelerated rate, leaving debris and the remains of tree stumps on the foreshore. Approximately 60 metres has been lost in the last 12 years and beach access remains unsafe and changeable. The reserve is the only public area that the community has in the area; it is loved and well-used. Over the past 10 years, the Dunedin City Council has invested in playground, picnic and toilet facilities as well as areas of native plantings. These are all increasingly at risk.
The Cultural and Historical Significance of Te Rauone
Te Rauone beach is an area of deep historical, natural, cultural and spiritual significance. Its position near the entrance to the Otago Harbour and to the marae at Otakou means that it has been an important and well-loved area for generations of Kai Tahu on the Otago Peninsula. With the arrival of European ships in the early 19th century, Te Rauone became part of the development of the Otago Peninsula and Dunedin as we know it today.
“This is a place steeped in history and tradition and remains turangawaewae for the many descendants of the original peoples, and home to the many people fortunate to live there” Edward Ellison Te Runanga o Otakou.
Local History – Those Were The Days
The physical changes in the beach and reserve over the past 60 years has been watched with alarm by long-term residents and holiday-makers. While the erosion has created concerns over damage to property, there has been an overwhelming sense of loss by the community over the area’s use. These comments have included;
- “Te Rauone was a very different area to what it is today…..”
- “A wonderful beach for young and old alike….”
- “Low tide allowed for youngsters to study marine life at the base of the small rock groynes that existed then….”
- “New Years Day brought games of cricket and running races, with rowing races when the tide was high….”
- “Flounder netting was a communal activity with the net being hauled in by two separate groups, one at either end……”
Sand dunes along the front of many properties and what is now the council reserve, provided many opportunities for playing hide and seek, sliding down onto the beach or just relaxing in privacy with a book. Later in the 1980’s children enjoyed setting courses and riding ponies under the trees on the reserve.
Te Rauone Reserve At Risk
The reserve has no protective walls and is continuing to be eroded at an accelerated rate, leaving debris and the remains of tree stumps on the foreshore. Approximately 60 metres has been lost in the last 12 years and beach access remains unsafe and changeable. The Reserve is the only public area that the community has; it is loved and well-used. Over the past 10 years, the Dunedin City Council has invested in playground, picnic and toilet facilities as well as areas of native plantings. These are all increasingly at risk.
The Causes of Erosion at Te Rauone
The erosion is caused by:
- Wave action from the Southwest winds and the Northeast winds and swells on the high tide
- Sand deficit, sand transportation and currents
- Vessel traffic wakes and surges
- Modifications to the harbour such as the mole
- Shipping and the dredging of the channel. There is notable danger from the wakes of large incoming vessels.
Te Rauone – A Beach at the Heart of the Community
Our aim is to protect and enhance the natural environment, a valued community place and a New Zealand way of life that has meaning for our activities,traditions and identity. It is the place where we can gather to connect with the land, the water and with each other.
A Project Solution for Te Rauone
Port Otago Ltd, and their expert consultants, have prepared a plan that comprises of:
- The construction of a 110 metre rock breakwater extending out from the existing road line to reduce the force and eroding effect of the sea and provide a barrier to capture and hold the drifting sands.
- The restoration / re-nourishment of the beach by pumping dredged sand on to the foreshore.
- The breakwater will be 3 metre above chart datum (approximately 1 metre above high tide), 2.5-3 metres wide at the top and 8 metres wide on the seabed. It will be gated off to vehicle traffic, but accessible for walking access.
- The dredged sand will be initially deposited in a temporary dredge pit located at the end of the breakwater and then pumped onto the foreshore.
- Plantings of the native sand sedge, pikao will be undertaken by the community to hold the windblown sand and build dunes along the top of the beach.
Outcomes – Creating A Community Place at Te Rauone
The long-term outcome of the project is to create a sustainable sloping beach that will counter and dissipate wave action that will be above high water; extending 30 metres from the road near the breakwater, and 10-20 metres near the Reserve and southwards. By restoring the beach to this level it will;
- Prevent Erosion – An increased volume of sand, held in place by the breakwater will provide a barrier against damage from swells, storms and shipping wakes.
- Create a Sustainable Beach – The restored beach, with new dune plantings, will be a significant natural attraction in its own right and will complement the paid attractions of the area.
- The Harington Point Breakwater – Will develop the area as a community place providing opportunities for walking, sightseeing, photography, fishing, diving, boat usage, beach and water access.
- Te Rauone Reserve Access Retained – As the sand is re-nourished, the Reserve will be enhanced and protected with sheltering dunes and Harington Point Road will be protected.
- Marine Environment – The break water will help to support the marine ecosystem and the restored beach will benefit estuarine, tidal and dune environments.
The Consultation / Resource Consent Partnership
This project is being developed on the basis of a partnership between Port Otago Ltd, the Te Rauone Beach Coast Care Committee, the Dunedin City Council, Te Rauone Incorporated and the community. Consultation regarding the Breakwater and Sand Nourishment Project has taken place over the past 5 years.
Who Are We?
The Te Rauone Beach Coast Care Committee was principally formed to address the ongoing issue of erosion at Te Rauone Beach. The aim of the committee is to represent the community in a unified manner, to facilitate project and fund-raising requirements and to ensure the completion of the Te Rauone Beach Rock Breakwater / Sand Nourishment Project.
Port Otago Ltd has anticipated the project will cost $450,000. They have asked the Harington Point community to raise $70,000. It is hoped the bulk of this amount can be obtained by grants from funding agencies.
The Te Rauone Beach 2016 Fund Raiser Calendar
The committee has begun its own fund-raising with the publication of a calendar sponsored by local groups and businesses. We have raised $10,000 to date through calendar sales and donations and purchases can be made from the contacts below.
Contact Us and Share Our Vision
The vision of this project is to re-instate a safe and accessible beach amenity that can be utilised and enjoyed by all members of our diverse community
Te Rauone Beach is a taonga to be proud of; for our whanau, our community, our visitors and our future generations. For donations, calendars or information contact;
Graeme Burns (Chair) 4557473 firstname.lastname@example.org
Des Smith (Fund raising) 4780487 email@example.com