Freshwater streams drying up in Northland

Posted 31/01/2019

Radio NZ website

Conservationists in the Far North are concerned about the disappearance of freshwater streams from Ninety Mile Beach.

They said there were previously dozens that ran from the dunes to the sea, sustaining shellfish and birdlife.

But the last one still running has now dried up.

Bushland Trust chairperson Kevin Matthews said when he was a boy in the 1960's the southern half of Te Oneroa-a-Tōhē (Ninety Mile Beach) was criss-crossed by more than 60 freshwater streams.

"Up to Scott Point there were 63 streams that you'd cross; you'd count them as you drove north up the beach. In that stretch between Waipapakauri and just north of Hukatere, all those streams have stopped running."

That was before much of the northern tip of New Zealand, the long, sandy Aupōuri Pensinsula, was planted in pine forest.

In those days there was freshwater and wild kai in abundance, Mr Matthews said.

"We used to camp at the beach, at the Karaka Stream, used to catch eels there. You could go and get a feed of toheroa [shellfish] without a problem.

"It wasn't only the streams; it was freshwater flowing under the sand."

Read the full article here.