Masterton Girl Guide Amy Aldridge and Masterton District Councillor and ace hole-digger Chris Petersen
Image: DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Forty people, ages ranging from just two years old to over 80, turned up to plant 1,700 native grass plants in the dunes at Riversdale on Saturday.

Date:  16 July 2018

The planting was organised by the Riversdale Dune Committee to improve the resilience of the dunes and help protect the coastal settlement from the sea.

Masterton District Councillor and environmental stalwart Chris Petersen says the dune committee was formed in the early 1990’s to deal with the coastal erosion t threatening houses at the south of the settlement.

With that job out of the way, the group continued planting in front of the reserve at the south end of the beach, then moved its activities to the surf club at the north end of the beach.

The group has been planting native plants in the dunes for more than 20 years with great support from local families and schools, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Masterton District Council.

Saturday’s planting was just south of the surf club and the planters replaced introduced marram grass with two native dune grasses: spinifex and pingao.

Department of Conservation ranger Garry Foster says marram grass makes steep, unstable dunes that are prone to “blowing out”.

He says native sand-binding plants make dunes with gentle slopes that repair themselves after storms and offer better long-term protection for coastal land.

“It’s pretty simple, our native plants have evolved to deal with the power of the Pacific Ocean and have been successfully creating a buffer between the land and the sea for thousands of years.

“If we look after them, they look after us. Our native birds, lizards and insects prefer them too.”

Garry Foster says it was fantastic to see Riversdale bach owners taking care of their dunes.


Jim Flack, Ranger, Wairarapa 
Mobile: +64 027 568 9246

Back to top