In 1989 the Turakina River mouth was in it’s most southerly position and it was making life difficult for village residents who wanted to go to the beach, to go fishing or do other beach things.
The water from the river had backed up and created some flooding in the Teone street area. This was a reasonably frequent occurrence when the mouth was at the most southern point of it’s trajectory up and down the coast. This time it flooded a basement in Teone street’s lowest area. We don’t know how often this had happened, or how deep the water was, but this wasn’t going to be tolerated anymore!. A new mouth was going to be blasted through the sand spit and the river would go where it was told to go!
It was serious, the Army was being called in. From minutes of 1989 meetings; “… Army had shown interest … suggestion that an attempt be made to open the river to the sea…” and ” … meeting with Army…would be held at the mouth … to see where the river could be diverted”.
From then on it was endless meetings and consultations all the way through 1990-91 with everyone who was in any position of authority or had any interest in anything to do with rivers. It involved Planning Water Rights, Engineering, Health & Safety, Harbours Act, DOC, RDC, MWRC, Minister of Conservation, and of course the local branch of the White-baiters Society!
While many and varied were the issues put forward as justification for this grand project, it has been suggested by a long-time resident, “this had more to do with being able to catch fish than anything else”. Maybe. But it was serious!
But in the end it was also futile, because in July 1992 a newspaper reported; “Nature settles river mouth issue … river now goes where residents wanted it”. So Mother Nature came along and showed who’s in charge. Again.
The documents available below record most of the ins and outs of this project. To access them use the OPEN buttons. If the site’s separate viewer window opens, it can be closed via your browser’s back arrow/command.
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