Bay of Plenty Regional Council shared a cake with students and teachers at Thornton School to recognise an incredible 20 years of dune planting on their local beach.

The small rural school in the Whakatāne District has been planting each winter season for 20 consecutive years without missing a single season.

Regional Council’s Coast Care Representative, Wayne O’Keefe recognised the anniversary with a cake and certificate.

“It has been an outstanding effort by the school and we are very impressed with the commitment of the students, teachers and the parents. It was a great opportunity to take the cake and certificate out to the school to show our real appreciation.

“The work they have been doing has made that section of the beach an absolute jewel. Many years of planting has meant that the spinifex has become so well established in the dunes they now concentrate on pingao enrichment.

“Pingao is a native sedge that used to be very common along the New Zealand coastline but since human settlement, has dwindled in numbers. However, thanks to the efforts of groups like Thornton School in recent times, Pingao is again becoming a common sight on our Bay of Plenty beaches. It is a fantastic sand-binder and vital for the health of our dunes. It usually needs the safety of a well-established spinifex area to grow well and Thornton School have provided this, allowing our native pingao to flourish,” Mr O’Keefe said.

The school has done so well with dune restoration at Thornton Domain that they have started work on a new area on Walkers Road to bring to life.

“Coastcare is very fortunate to have such a committed school and the students and parent support that makes this happen,” Mr O’Keefe said.

For more information on Coastcare and how to get involved 

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