Captain Terry Somers and crew member Sharon aboard Kewpie Too

Work begins at Pouto

by Laurie Willetts

The threat of erosion of the surrounds of the iconic Pouto Lighthouse on the North Head of the Kaipara Harbour entrance has prompted swift action from a variety of stakeholders.

“The Department of Conservation along with Kaipara District Council, Heritage New Zealand and the Waikaretu Marae are combining to implement protection measures around the lighthouse,” said DoC’s operations manager for the Kauri Coast, Stephen Soole.

“This is happening this week and involves fencing around the lighthouse with signage to stop people and warn them of the erosion problem.”

Four-wheel-drive vehicles and quad bikes are being warned away from the lighthouse area after being blamed for sand erosion. Visitors to the site are being asked to keep their distance while remedial work is underway.

Warning signs are being put on the lighthouse approaches.

Work at the site will include a planting programme of grasses and shrubs, together with a fenced area.

Kaipara Cruises operator, Terry Somers who skippers the harbour vessel Kewpie Too, is a frequent Pouto and lighthouse visitor. He and his crew have noticed worsening erosion at the site.

“It’s a little bit of a mystery,” says Gaye Sommers, ”because I have photos of when there was a fence and garden around the lighthouse, but some years ago this was removed. It certainly needs replacing — so that’s good news work is underway at least.”

Heritage New Zealand northern assets manager, Natalie McCondach says visitors are being asked to keep their distance from ongoing work.

Summer holiday visitors are being advised of restricted vehicle access as they enter the beach, which is a designated road, along with warnings against speed, and to care for other holiday beach users.