Category Archives: Nature

New Dog Bylaw (proposed)

Northland Age

Hello All,

You may have heard already … Council have made a significant announcement:

The Dog Control Bylaw and Policy proposal is being sent BACK to the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board for consideration.  The Community Boards are able to make recommendations whether there should be amendments to the document and/or amendments to the process.  How does this affect us?

1.    All of the letters you have sent to Councillors are redundant for now!!!!  The Councillors will not be having a say on this until the Strategy Committee meeting on 30th August i.e. AFTER the Community Boards have had their say.  So you have to send, or resend your views to the Community Board members urgently.  You can approach all of them, or a particular one you may already know.  Could you please cc Kelly Stratford as she has become the hub of communication between us and the council and is loyally compiling everything we send her and ensuring it is passed on to other members.

2.    The Community Board meeting is at 10am Monday 14th August at Waipapa Hall.  Yes, this Monday – so get writing SOON!  The meeting is open for the public to attend AND you may speak at the meeting if you wish to.  If you are considering this but are not sure how to go about it, you are welcome to phone or email Kelly Stratford or myself for more info.

3.    Predictably, the policy writers have CHANGED the draft bylaw & policy – the one being presented to the Community Board has differences to the one we have been critiquing.  I encourage you to go through it all again!  You may feel strongly about most of it, or just one aspect.  Some differences I have noted so far (still a lot of studying to be done!):

–    The limit of two dogs per household has been broadened to make a lot of areas only one dog per household, including Russell and other rural areas.  Still no provision for applying to exceed that.
–    Sullivans Beach (coast between Te Haumi and Paihia) nominated to be an Exercise Zone ie off leash at all times. Something to smile about and I know this is only because of the effort people went to last summer to make a case for this.  Still, it is better-sweet with the other opportunities they have simultaneously deprived us of.
–    The track between Te Haumi and Opua has been added as ON LEASH AT ALL TIMES.  (It is presently off leash.)

I apologise for not being familiar with everyone’s patch of turf, or circumstances, so PLEASE SPEAK UP for yourselves AND people you know who may need support (e.g. elderly or shy folk).

We are all angry and upset, and it is OK to express that, however it will be most helpful if you can tell them precisely how the bylaw and policy negatively impacts on you and suggest solutions on how they can reverse that.  You may also like to mention that you didn’t receive notification of the review last year (if you didn’t) and/or that the draft has been significantly and secretly changed since it was first presented for public feedback.

Link to the new draft/proposal:

(It’s in three parts – a discussion report, the bylaw and policy, a document showing the changes made to the last version.)

Link to the Community Board Members Contacts:

Kelly Stratford:  Phone: 021 087 31120

Link to the announcement (media release):

Thanks to all who came to Opua Beach on Sunday.  Sixty odd people and dogs – that’s 120 +  individuals!!

Keep up the effort, everyone.  It will pay off eventually.  And please pass this email on.


Kaye V.


Proposed Dog Bylaw 

Proposed Dog Bylaw
a new bylaw is just about to be ratified by our council. It seems to be a new radical approach to dog ownership. As you can imagine there is a big division between dog-owners, non-dog-owners, conservationists and I am sure Opua residents. This is why:

Schedule C – DOG EXERCISE AREAS Dogs may be exercised off-leash in the areas listed below and shown in Figure 2.
Kaitaia Empire Street. See map. Kaikohe Highway 12. See map.
Kerikeri Rolands Wood, Kerikeri Inlet Rd. Wiroa Road. See Map.
Opua Beechy Street
waterfront. See Map.
Rangiputa Rangiputa beach.
• • Dogs must be under control at all times.

Opua Beach is the only place for off-leash time in the Russell, Opua, Kawakawa, Paihia, Waitangi & Haruru Falls area. Mind-boggling? Where are all these dog owners going to park? Where are the dogs going to exercise at high tide? Who’s going to clean up all the dog waste?

Please come along to this event – we need to make sure our beach is not the only off-leash exercise place in the BOI



C:\Users\Frank\Pictures\Clip Art\Bee happy.pngWORKING BEE POSTPONED!!
Due to a forecast of rain and strong winds tomorrow the working bee at the Top o’ The Hill at Opua is POSTPONED.
We will aim to re-schedule the working bee to the following Saturday 10 June.
This will be confirmed during the week.
Apologies to all who were prepared to come along, but there’s no point working in the rain and being miserable!
Frank Leadley

The weeds and creepers are starting to invade our beautiful Top O’ The Hill area, so it is time to charge into it and restore its beauty before the winter really sets in.


So, weather permitting, there will be a Working Bee on

Saturday 3 June, from 9.00 to 11.00 am

We need to trim back the Kikuyu from the garden edges and around the sleepers etc, spray the Morning Glory that is creeping back in, weed the rockeries, and possibly cut back the growth on the other side of the main road that is affecting the view for traffic coming around the corner. And there will probably be other chores to attend to.

What to bring: weed eaters, spades, rakes, clippers, scrub cutter, containers/wheelbarrow for weeds, and a cheerful spirit.

And some hot water, mugs, and goodies for a cuppa would not go amiss. Please let Vanessa Leadley know if you can help in this regard.

Any queries/suggestions to Frank Leadley, 4027650.


A BIG THANK YOU to the 18 fine folk (including two grandchildren) who turned up for the working bee at the Top O’ The Hill yesterday. A great scene of spraying, weeding, raking, digging, metal-spreading, mowing, clipping, and general tidying, all of which has made the area ready for the many tourists and locals to enjoy over the Summer.

A very convivial and hard-working group who represent the pride of Opua!

A community effort that was topped off by an excellent morning tea with jam and cream scones and cheese rolls.
Thanks to you all.
A set of secateurs was left behind – owner contact me.

Frank Leadley

If you have a project idea for Opua, please email us!

How much do you know about kererū?

The Great Kererū Count is nearly here! From the 16th- 25th of September, you can take part in New Zealand’s largest citizen science project by getting outside and counting kererū.

Photo by Steve Attwood

Photo by Steve Attwood

This will help scientists get a better understanding of kererū numbers and where they live. The more people who take part, the better information they get about how these awesome birds are doing. So get a group of friends together and count those kereru!

In the meantime, read more about kererū then do our quiz to find out how much you know about kereru!

Photo by Craig McKenziePhoto by Craig McKenzie

What’s in a name?

Kererū have lots of different names! Their Māori name is kererū, but some iwi in Northland call them kukupa and kuku.

Their scientific name is Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae. If you look up the latin meaning of “hemiphaga” it actually means half (“hemi”) eater (“phaga”). Do you have any ideas what that might mean?

What do kererū look like?

Kererū are big birds, in fact they are one of the largest pigeons in the world. They weigh about 650g and are about 50 cm long. The feathers on their back and head are green, but can look purple in the sunlight. They have white feathers on their chests.

Why are kererū important?

This x-ray of a kererū by the Avian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust shows how many big berries it can fit in its crop!

This x-ray of a kererū by the Avian Wildlife Rehabilitation Trust shows how many big berries it can fit in its crop!


Kererū spread the seeds of over 70 native forest plants, including kahikatea, rimu and nikau.

Now that birds like the huia and piopio are extinct, the kererū is the only native bird large enough to eat the big fruit of some of our important native forest trees like tawa, karaka, taraire, miro and puriri.

They also fly long distances – so are great at distributing seeds throughout the forest. After eating the fruits, the birds fly away and poo the seed somewhere else in the forest, along with some nutritious fertiliser!

If there were no kererū, there would be no bird to spread these seeds in the forest which would be a disaster for our native trees!

Where do kererū live?

A kererū chick on the nest Photo by Abel Tasman Backpackers)

A kererū chick on the nest (Photo by Abel Tasman Backpackers)


Kererū are only found in New Zealand, which means they are endemic. You can spot them in forests, parks, reserves and gardens all over New Zealand, but they are most common in the forests of Northland, the King Country, Nelson and the West Coast.

Before humans and predators came to New Zealand there would have been flocks of hundreds of kererū in forests all over the country.

Adults make a nest – an untidy platform of sticks in a fork of a tree or in a tangle amongst some vines. They lay just one egg in the nest, which the male and female take turns to keep warm for a month before it hatches.

What do kererū sound like?

Kererū don’t sing like a lot of our native birds, instead they make a soft “coo” sound. You are more likely to notice a kererū when it’s flying because of the loud “whooshing“ noise their wings make.

They are clumsy at landing so if you hear a bird crash-landing in a tree, it’s probably a kererū! Listen to them cooing and crashing about the forest here.

What are the threats to kererū?

The biggest threat to kererū are introduced predators. Many kererū eggs and chicks never grow into adults because they are eaten by rats, stoats, possums and cats. In some places over half the eggs and chicks get eaten. Stoats and cats also eat adult kererū. All this means that there aren’t as many kererū in our forests, parks and gardens as there used to be.


A possum scavenges an abandoned kererū nest Photo by Nga Manu Images)

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A possum scavenges an abandoned kererū nest (Photo by Nga Manu Images)


Habitat loss
Kererū live mainly in forest. Before humans arrived in New Zealand 85 percent of New Zealand was covered in forests. Humans burned and chopped down large areas of forests to make farms, towns and cities and to use the wood for building and exporting. Now only 23 percent of New Zealand is covered in forest. That means there is less food for kererū, and less places for them to nest and live.

Possums and rat don’t only eat chicks and eggs they also eat the fruit and leaves kererū like to eat. Without enough food kererū don’t breed, and adult birds may starve.

Illegal hunting
Kererū were traditionally hunted by Māori for its meat and feathers. They were easy to spear or trap, especially after they had a big feed. Kererū were also popular birds with European hunters in the 1800’s. Eventually hunting kererū was banned in 1921 to help save them. Unfortunately people still sometimes hunt kererū illegally, which could cause them to disappear from some parts of New Zealand.

Other threats
Reflections of trees in windows can confuse kererū into thinking it’s just more forest, so they try to fly through it which can injure them. They are also often injured or killed by cars as they swoop low over roads.

How can I help kererū?

IMG_2046Make a Kererū Protector for your windows to let them know it’s not forest!

Join a local conservation group to help trap pests or plant kererū habitat. Try your local Kiwi Conservation Club branch or Forest & Bird branch.

Encourage the adults you live with to set up a trap to catch possums, rats and stoats in your garden.

Plant kererū food trees in your garden like tawa, kowhai, puriri and hinau. Make sure they aren’t too close to windows or the kererū might crash into them after they eat.

If you find a sick or injured kererū, get it to your nearestrescue centre as soon as possible or call the Department of Conservation on 0800 DOCHOT. To catch a kererū throw a towel over it, scoop it up (gently holding its wings to its sides so they don’t get damaged) and put both bird and towel in a box. The darkness of the box and the warmth of the towel helps the bird if it’s stressed.