The team that's dedicated to looking after our beautiful dunes.

“Treat our home like you would your home. Enjoy it, it’s an awesome place! Enjoy our beaches, go surfing, diving, fishing and also look after this place as you would your own home.” 

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Paul Grenshields Coast Care Regional Coordinator for the Bay of Plenty knows a thing or two about “looking after the place.” Coast Care Bay of Plenty has planted over 1.5 million native grasses to promote sand dune regeneration from Ōpōtiki in the south to Waihī Beach in the north.

It is hard to imagine the Bay of Plenty without our sand dunes, as they have become a signature feature of our coastal paradise, however, if it weren’t for the foresight of a group of local volunteers over 25 years ago our beach profile and natural landscape would look much different than it does today.  

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Coast Care Bay of Plenty is a locally governed group of volunteers who help keep our sand dunes, beaches and wildlife healthy. Coastal development throughout the '70s and '80s led to our region's sand dunes suffering massive erosion, therefore depleting our beaches as well as losing valuable sand between the ocean and coastal properties.

Native grasses play a vital role in maintaining the dunes, binding light blowing sand onto the beach, and stabilising sand dunes. Without these plants, the sand blows away and dunes disappear – leaving the land vulnerable to weather and wave action.

By formalising beach access paths and reintroducing native grasses along the beachfront, sand dunes and beaches were able to regenerate and as the sand dunes grew, wildflowers regenerated and native birds and lizards returned.

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Coast Care also engages with local school groups teaching the next generation, over 5,000 students per year, about our coastal environment and how best to take care of our dunes. Check out their video here.

When asked about the importance of sticking to the marked pathways, Paul Greenshields said, “It is a very small and important ecosystem that sits right in a high traffic area. Who doesn’t want to run to the beach? This is why it is so important to stick to the marked beach paths that lead to the shoreline. If too many feet pass over the grasses, they will die and 25 years of hard work by thousands of volunteers will be lost.”

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As locals, Bay of Plentians are very proud of our beautiful coastal region; we consider ourselves to be the kaitiaki (guardians) of our environment, both of land and sea.

While visiting the region you can become a kaitiaki too. We know you will be impressed by the beauty of our region and we look to you, our guests, to help us keep it that way.