Hastings Council is pondering what to do about complaints of vehicle use and damage at Waimārama Beach, after recently taking submissions on the issue.

But meantime the situation has prompted Bayden Barber, chair of Ngati Kahungunu, Waimārama resident and former HDC councillor to block vehicle access to the beach while the council reflects.

Barber has gotten a fair amount of Facebook abuse for his action.

Looking further into the matter, I received a submission to HDC prepared by Paddy Maloney, a Waimārama property owner who has spent years working to protect the beach environment.

Here are his observations about the goings-on.

Paddy Maloney submission

I strongly support further restricting vehicle access and driving on Waimārama Beach. 

This has been a problem that has continued to get worse in recent years.

The previous restrictions of the south end of the beach only transfer the abusers to the north end of the beach, i.e. the zone north of the Pouhokio stream.

There are several different groups that disregard the current rules and drive with under age children on quads, others on motorbikes, others with 4 wheel vehicles who speed and do doughnuts etc, and this is a serious problem for others and a risk to public safety.

There are residents or bach users who come in from Harper Road and access the beach through Airini Road access, including a house owner from Airini road who drives the beach on his motorbike almost every weekend on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and nights by coming in from Airini Road, over the Pouhokio stream, and then races up and down the north section of the beach, from the Pouhokio stream north. 

Others from Harper Road or Airini Road come in on quad bikes via Airini Road and speed around doing doughnuts often with young children as drivers and/or passengers.

There is a convoy of 4 wheel drive vehicles that come in almost every weekend using the access from the end of Tiakitai road. They drive the beach north to the Waingongoro stream where they then spend the afternoons drinking and partying until dark when they leave. They are a serious disturbance to this north end of the beach and ruin it for anyone else who wants to walk the beach north. They then drive back to Hastings after an afternoons drinking. If it is high tide when they leave they then drive up through the foredunes and depart via the reserve. 

The vehicle damage to the north end on the beach just south of the Waingongoro stream is very bad and the sustainability of the dunes has been seriously compromised by vehicles driving through here.

Others with motorbikes come in from Hastings and park their vehicles at the Tiakitai reserve, unload their motorbikes and proceed to drive as fast as possible, treating the beach and the north end of Tiakitai Road reserve as a speed way and motorcross thrill zone. This makes the reserve a very unpleasant place for anyone else.

Others use the north end of the Tiakitai reserve (the Waingongoro reserve) as a rubbish dumping area by driving to the north end and emptying their vehicle of their household rubbish.

The recent rock placement and closure at the end of Tiakitai Road is fully supported and is absolutely necessary to restrict this extensive group of abusers from continuing to abuse the beach and the reserve areas.

This restriction while useful does not however stop vehicles from coming in from Harper Road and the village using the track from Airini Road. This track also needs to be closed off to eliminate this as a vehicle access.

The current signage advising that the speed limit on the beach is 20 km is confusing and contradictory. It is an invitation and permission to the public saying that you can drive on the beach. This needs to be changed, and the sign needs to say vehicles are prohibited.

The obvious exception is the Emergency Management and Surf Life Saving when they need to do a rescue job, but that should be the only exception to the prohibition rule.

The suggestion that there might be some kind of permit system for local house owners is just not practicable. How are they identified, who enforces this rule”, and what envy and public anger would result from giving this privilege to a chosen few, while others unhappily watch them drive the beach? 

For those who want to launch a boat for fishing there is the facility at Paparewa reserve and access, and this should be sufficient for the very few boats that are launched from north of the Pouhokio stream.

The high vehicle use on the beach and foredune area is also causing serious disturbance to the feeding and nesting areas of the terns and dotterels that try to live and nest at Waimārama. 

The dotterels in particular are an endangered species and they nest just above the high tide lines. The quad bikes , motorbikes, and 4 wheelers drive through their nesting areas, destroying both the fragile spinifex grass that protects the dunes and also the dotterel nests. 

Those who cause this damage clearly just do not care that their thrill seeking has serious negative consequences for this precious environment.
to stop.

For all of these reasons I strongly support additional restrictions for vehicles, especially the current rock placement closure of the Tiakitai Road access, and recommend that this also be the closure solution for vehicle access from Airini Road.

Paddy Maloney

Bayden Barber comments: “Any half measures will not suffice due to the difficulty in policing it. A complete vehicle ban from the beach is needed for the reasons Paddy has outlined.”


Join the Conversation


  1. Absolutely agree with Paddy and Bayden. The coast is a fragile environment that should be protected for non-human species and enabled for humans to enjoy within that protected environment. Those who feel the need for speed, petrol and noise should go to speedway or go and campaign for a theme park full of rollercoasters; there is no place for them on the beaches. The local wildlife, our tamariki and dogs should not be put at risk. We need more places we can slow down and enjoy the natural environment, and the coast is more accessible than the bush in Hawke’s Bay so it’s even more important. Teach your tamariki to find thrills in jumping waves and rejoicing in the return of dotterels, not in speeding on petrol machines.

  2. I support this also. I take my grandchildren swimming there often and there were idiots using it like a race track then up the tractor and boat launch area. Julia

  3. So Paddy why would you want Airini cut off also – just because you are never rarely at Waimārama I don’t think your opinion matters too much. We go through that way to go and fish in our Can Am because we can’t carry all the gear plus a picnic. Plus a lot of us can’t walk that far due to leg, hip, knee problems etc. I feel if you were out at the beach all the time maybe your comment would be worth thinking about but you aren’t.

  4. I totally agree with Bayden Barber’s comment. The total ban (except for bach owners) has worked really well at Ocean Beach and has made a huge difference to pedestrian usage of the beach, as well as protecting the dunes and wildlife. I really hope that Waimarama can follow suit

  5. OMG!!!!
    I m.in full support of a ban of vehicles on Waimarama Beach. How has it been allowed to go on for so long?

  6. I fully endorse stopping vehicles from the beach unless needed for emergencies or launching a boat. The beach should be a relatively quiet recreational space for people to relax and enjoy and for the wildlife to be protected.

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