Signs – Please respect our unique coastal areas

Castlecliff Coast Care recognised that the beach area has lots of “Do Not” signage but no informative signs.  As the addition of informative signage is part of the WDC’s Coastal Reserve Management Plan 2018, WDC were approached by Coast Care to work in partnership to create and install suitable signage. 

Four signs were designed and then erected in March 2021, with the theme “please respect our unique coastal areas”.  Each sign has a general information section, plus three sub-panels each of which presents a story about our coastal areas.

Almost serendipitously in the final weeks of the signage project Ian and Jacqui McGowan contacted Coast Care offering  to provide a generous donation to cover the sign production costs.  Further funding was received from WDC to cover assembly and painting.

The signs are located by the Karaka stream, the “brick path” to the beach and alongside the top car park.

Karaka Stream / Wetland

Karaka Stream / Wetland

Banded kōkopu and inanga (Galaxias fasciatus), longfin (Anguilla dieffenbachii) and shortfin eels (Anguilla australis) and occasionally redfin bully (Gobiomorphus huttoni) are found here.
The Stream is fed by clean spring water from the cliff face. Iron sands dissolve in the water causing rust-coloured mud in the feeder streams.
This coastal stream provides a special area for our nocturnal native fishes, having areas for night feeding, daytime shade and suitable spawning areas.
The high density of adult fish spawning in the Karaka Stream suggests many larvae leaving the wetland each year may populate other rivers and streams along this coast.

When Karaka Street and Seafront Road were formed there were no dunes, nor stream or wetland. The beach was just a long narrow strip of sand.
The North Mole collected the sand moving southward in the sea currents so the beach and dunes increased
to their present size.
As the beach grew, groundwater emerging underneath Karaka Street pooled at the base of the cliffs.
By the 1930s, this formed a ‘lagoon’ where local children played. Later, the dunes rose in front of the ‘lagoon’,
creating a more sheltered environment that favoured the establishment of coastal and wetland plants.
Establishing the beach emergency access roadway and ditch created the Karaka Stream which has developed into a suitable habitat for our native fishes.

This area is home to a population of banded kōkopu,and other endemic whitebait species that are rare in the Whanganui region.
Banded kokopu
• Are scalesless fish.
• Grow up to 300mm.
• Are nocturnal and site loyal.
• They require daytime vegetative cover and shallow, slow-flowing water for night feeding.

Iron sands dissolved in the water are converted by bacteria into iron hydroxide percipitate or ochre, seen as rust-coloured mud, which can combine with organic matter.
This fine black mud is highly valued by Māori weavers who use it to make traditional black dyes. There are only a few paru sites in the Whanganui region.