Whangarei District Council (WDC) bylaws are in most cases made under the Local Government Act 2002 and are generally made to protect the public from nuisance, protect, promote and maintain public health and safety and minimise the potential for offensive behaviour in public places. They are enforceable by either Council staff or other nominated agencies.
Dogs may be exercised on the beach at any time all year round, with the exception of those days between 20 December and 31 January of the following year. During these times, dogs are not allowed on the beach between the hours of 9.00am and 5.00pm.
Dogs must be under continuous and effective control at all times and owners must ensure their dog is not disturbing or endangering any other animals or birdlife.
Owners must also remove any dog faeces and dispose of in a hygienic manner.
A permanent alcohol ban applies for all public spaces in Oakura Bay. Accordingly, no person shall consume, bring into, or possess alcohol in any public place (including inside a vehicle) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Any person breaching this bylaw is committing an offence and may be fined.
Camping is permitted in the Bay. However, it is restricted to self-contained vehicles only and no person may stay for more than three nights in any four-week consecutive period in any one area, or within 1km of any area they have previously camped in within that four-week period. The camping activity must not restrict public access to public areas and the site must be left in a clean and tidy state.
Sleeping in a tent or a non self-contained vehicle in any public place is strictly prohibited. Failure to comply with the rules may result in a $200 fine.
VEHICLES ON BEACHES
Currently there is a 30km speed limit for the intertidal zone in place for Oakura Bay, Purutahi Bay and Ohawini Bay as per the WDC Control of Vehicles on Beaches Bylaw 2009. The purpose of the Bylaw is to “protect, promote and maintain public health and safety, and protect the public from nuisance by regulating the use of vehicles on beaches in the Whangarei District”. All relevant traffic rules and regulations apply to the use of any vehicles on beaches. When driving along the beach, please drive at a safe speed and respect the safety of other beach users, in particular small children. Access and exit the beach in a manner that minimises damage and erosion to the already vulnerable banks and take care not to place wildlife at risk, in particular nesting shorebirds.
For information on the agency responsible for enforcement of any breaches of the rules for the different zones, click here. Note that, although the document references Bream Bay, the same rules apply for Oakura, Purutahi and Ohawini beaches.
FIRE RESTRICTIONS AND PERMITS
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is responsible for fire control and issues fire permits in urban and rural areas. Northland Regional Council is responsible for smoke nuisance. During the open fire season, you are able to light an outside fire without a permit – so long as it is done safely, kept under control, put out properly and you have permission from the relevant land owner or occupier. You are responsible for the fire and must ensure that it does not get out of control and spread to vegetation or property. You also need to comply with all relevant council burning restrictions, including requirements relating to smoke nuisance and controls under the Resource Management Act.
During the warmer, dryer months (often much of summer), a fire ban may be put in place and you will therefore need a fire permit to light a fire in open air. If you light a fire without a fire permit during a restricted or prohibited fire season, it is an offence under the Fire and Emergency NZ Act 2019. In Northland, you are only allowed to burn untreated wood, paper, cardboard or vegetation. Materials such as plastic, rubber, carpet or untreated timber must NOT be burned. You must also ensure that you do not cause a smoke or odour nuisance outside your property boundary.
Please be aware that smoke from outdoor burning pollutes the air and can cause serious health problems. If you are concerned about smoke or a fire, try talking to the person first as they may be unaware they are causing a problem. If the problem persists and you wish to lay a complaint about a smoke nuisance from a neighbouring property, call the Northland Regional Council’s 24/7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 504 639.