Peka Peka beach and dunes

An SUV and boat trailer seen on Peka Peka beach. In this area motorised vehicles are allowed.  However, south of Oliver Grove in Waikanae they are not, except to launch boats in front of the Waikanae Boating Club.

The existing Beach Bylaw was adopted in May 2009 and under the Local Government Act it has to be reviewed after 10 years.  There is a two year grace period, but it gets automatically revoked if the review is not completed by May 2021.

The council intends to get things underway next month, beginning with general communications on 13 January,  which will include mail to interested groups, an online survey, information pop-ups, beach walks and workshops.

The existing bylaw can be read here (14-page pdf).  At first perusal it may look simple, but things are more complex than they look as there are different jurisdictions involved — KCDC, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Department of Conservation for the Estuary and Scientific Reserve; in the last case their laws supersede those of a local council.

The GWRC has its Proposed Natural Resources Plan, which took legal effect once it was ‘notified’ on 31 July 2019.

In a nutshell, the KCDC is generally responsible for sand dunes and the beach down to what is called “mean high water springs level.” Between there and what is called “mean low water springs level” is GWRC territory: in terms of technical definition, the land edging the sea, estuaries and rivers that [is] normally submerged and exposed by the sea’s tidal ebb and flow.  However, exactly where those lines in the sand are isn’t particularly clear.

The issue of vehicles on the beach is one of the most contentious, and in the 11 months to 2 December 2019 the council had 95 ‘service requests’ about them, of which 25 were in Waikanae and 7 in Peka Peka. Most of these were complaints.

Apart from that, other issues are horses (dogs are covered under the separate Dog Bylaw), the safety of kontiki long line fishing systems, land yachts/blokarts, motorbikes (completely banned at present) and nudity a.k.a. “clothing optional.”. The last received a significant amount of comment in 2009, but it doesn’t seem to be mentioned much now.

Last but not least there is the matter of enforcement.  The WCB will be actively involved in the review; more info to come.