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Kairakau cleans up
By VIVIENNE HALDANE
Big relief: Taradale's Dave Marrett has enjoyed
coming to Kairakau, 55 kilometres south of Havelock
North, for 30 years and is pleased the beach is back
in good shape.
Disastrous: Flooding at Kairakau in April.
Photo: VIV PEARSE
Lovely launch pad: The newly-created boat ramp is
ready for action this summer. It is now looking much
improved, thanks to a big community effort.
Looking better: The sea wall is well on the way to
repair but still requires more work.
When severe storms battered the coast in April
this year, Kairakau Beach suffered badly. But
when things settled, rather than wait for outside
assistance, residents decided to get cracking and
restore their beloved beach environment them-
Although the camping ground was one of the
worst affected areas, much infrastructure around
the beach settlement also needed repair. Debris
washed down the river, ending up in the lagoon
and on the beach, and the sea wall was destroyed,
as was the boat ramp.
Kairakau resident Pam Duncan recalls: On the
morning of the storm, my husband Tim and I went
out in our truck at 4am and shone the headlights
on the river and watched in horror as a caravan,
with its Sky dish intact, floated out to sea. It was
a raging torrent -- there was nothing we could do.
Later they and other residents were airlifted to
safety by helicopter.
When they returned, the full horror of the dam-
age was apparent. Their once pristine beach was
smothered in litter.
The camping ground, normally home to 26
camping sites during the season, had been largely
washed out to sea.
Mrs Duncan, who has lived there for 15 years,
and a group of others, set to work. We knew we
needed to reclaim the land, so we began
fundraising. I wrote to all the ratepayers and
marine club members -- we raised $45,000.
Then we applied to seven trusts for extra
funding and were successful in receiving money,
$8000 and $5000 respectively, from the Eastern
and Central Community Trust and the Springhill
Charitable Trust and Frimley Foundation.
The Central Hawkes Bay District Council also
contributed $5000 towards the $70,000 cost of
repairing the damage.
All this, along with other fundraising efforts
such as a Rugby World Cup Final held at the
Kairakau hall, mean they are close to their target
and now need another $5000.
A gala followed by a Trivia Pursuit evening is
planned for December 30.
Last year we raised $2000 and we hope to
improve on that, says Mrs Duncan.
It s usually quiet at Kairakau over winter, but
this year it was a hive of industry as earthmovers
and a team of workers beavered away to clear the
Slowly, order was restored. The road leading to
the beach has been repaired and newly-sown grass
covers the verge bordering the river s edge.
In the remodelled camping ground, there are 19
caravan sites up and running.
If you d seen the damage done in April, no-one
would have predicted we d be at this stage, says
Dave Marrett, who has been coming to Kairakau
for 30 years.
Mrs Duncan speaks highly of Kairakau Beach
Development Society chairman Clive Adams, a
bach owner from Napier, who has, really driven
the whole thing, but she says it was also thanks
to many others.
People have been very generous and support-
ive, she says, Johnny McCutcheon and Clive
Alder used their heavy machinery to help clear up,
Unison and Central Lines donated power poles for
building retaining walls. Hawke s Bay Regional
Council allowed us to carry out the work under a
clause where we didn t have to apply for a
resource consent. It s been very positive and shows
what a tremendously strong community we have
Kairakau Beach Gala Day is on Friday, Decem-
Trivia Pursuit Night is in the Kairakau Hall,
7pm start. Everyone welcome. Teams of six. All
proceeds go to the Sea Wall Fund. Contact Pam
Duncan, 06 858 4245.
Lure to stay
longer in Bay
Hawke s Bay Tourism has unveiled a new
tourism industry initiative, called Hawke s
Bay Gems, to increase visitor nights this
The campaign aims to get everyone in the
tourism industry to share their three top rec-
ommendations for spending time in Hawke s
Bay with visitors.
These gems will be one tourism activity,
one half-day activity and one personal
Chairman of Hawke s Bay Tourism George
Hickton said the quickest way to increase the
tourism economy was to get more out of the
visitors that were already here and that was
by increasing their length of stay.
If every visitor stayed an extra night in
Hawke s Bay, it would equate to an
additional $32 million in economic return,
Mr Hickton said.
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