Category: Environment

Memories of Oakura

by Eamon Parkes

I remember coming to Oakura Bay when I was a kid. Mum (Kate Parkes) would always bring us up here from Whangarei and we would spend our time with my Uncle Lance Kelly. Uncle Lance was the Principal of Ngaiotonga Valley School before it was closed down. I have memories of going to the school with him, I think about 1992. Not sure exactly. My Aunty Barb (Barbara Kelly) also worked at the school. 

Every year during the Christmas break, we kids would have free range of the bay, going out on my Uncle’s sail yacht, going to the the local dairy to get lollies. 

Another memory I have of Oakura, was going to the fishing competitions they held before it was moved to Ruakaka. From what I can remember, my Uncle did the organising of that or helped out with it. I remember the massive Lion Red can that was blown up and put up at the main stage. Mum used to work in the local dairy for her time that she was in the bay with us kids. Another memory I have is of going to the rock pool, or the mermaid pool, not sure what people call it now. It was at the back beach, us kids were very rarely allowed to go to the back beach due to my Uncle not been able to see us from his house up on the hill. 

One day I would love to take my son up there from Nelson and give him the same experience as I had when I was a kid. 

Photographer: Unknown

Oakura Bay Fire First Response – First Callout

The recently formed Oakura Bay Fire First Response team had their first “callout” on Sunday afternoon, 26th January 2020.

The fire team successfully extinguished a bush fire on the hill between the Hall and Waimarie Avenue. Neighbours heard a loud bang and saw smoke high above the area. It was from a large firework and the falling debris ignited the bush, which was of course tinder dry.

Fortunately a nearby householder saw smoke from the fire and used a garden hose and carried buckets of water to contain the situation. The Oakura Fire First Response team were notified and 111 fire calls were made.

The First Response team had the fire completely extinguished when the Hikurangi Fire Brigade arrived approximately one hour later. A serious fire was definitely averted as the dry conditions would have enabled a serious fire to develop right in the Oakura Bay heartland.

The Oakura Bay Fire First Response group deserve our hearty congratulations!

Deb Glasgow – as published in the March 2020 Whangaruru Pothole Newsletter.

Australian bushfires turn skies orange over Oakura Bay

Driven by stratospheric level westerly winds, smoke from the raging bushfires in NSW, Australia, more than 2,000kms away, turned the skies over Oakura bay a bright orange hue before plunging the bay into near-darkness during the late afternoon of Sunday, 5 January 2020.

At the time, there were over 143 fires burning across New South Wales, causing widespread devastation to large swathes of the country, loss of life and property, as well as the death of millions of animals.

Further photos of the orange sky over Northland (and other parts of the country) can be seen in an article by Mike Dinsdale published in the Northern Advocate on 7 January 2020.

Visit to Dragonfly Springs Wetlands

On Wednesday, 22 May 2019, a number of WSRRA committee members (and friends) visited the privately owned Dragonfly Springs Wetlands situated harbour side at Onerahi.  Once a waste area comprised of open drains and illegal rubbish dumps, the area has been transformed into a nature reserve where freshwater springs and a system of ponds have been extensively planted to capture rain, and filter stormwater run-off and sedimentation into the harbour. The once neglected site also provides extensive bird and other wildlife habitat and is an educational asset for the local (and wider) community. 

Previously earmarked for subdivision in 2002, the land was purchased by Jeremy Busck and Pamela Winter in 2004 after an unsuccessful campaign to have Whangarei District Council buy the site. The couple then embarked on the mammoth task of turning the neglected low-laying land into a wetland sanctuary that would also provide the basis for environmental education. Today, the resource is used by a number of educational facilities ranging from primary through to tertiary level, as well as trusts and gardening clubs. Community planting and maintenance is encouraged with regular planting days scheduled. Many of the plants are derived from local native plant seeds collected and grown on at the on-site nursery.

Here in Oakura Bay, WSRRA in conjunction with WDC, are about to embark on the construction of a wetland and nature reserve shortly. With this in mind, and on the recommendation of Councillor Anna Murphy, we arrived at Dragonfly Springs Wetlands eager to observe and learn as much as we could. Jeremy was extremely generous with his time. He not only lead us on a guided walk through the wetlands, but also spent considerable time imparting some of his wide and extensive knowledge. We would encourage others to visit this stunning reserve.

Where: End of Raumati Crescent, Onerahi 0110

For more information, visit the Dragonfly Springs Wetland’s Facebook page.

Or contact Jeremy Busck and Pamela Winter – Phone (09) 436 0112, Mobile 021 232 6525 or email

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