Some Te Horo Beach residents are feeling fearful for their safety after intimidation on the beach and vandalism in the community.
Tensions have risen recently between factions for and against blocking access to the beach after Kāpiti Coast District Council installed blocks at the northern entrance to the beach. They have since been removed.
Much of the rhetoric has spilled into competing local social media sites with accusations of secret agendas and misuse of power.
During public speaking time at the Waikanae Community Board meeting on February 28, an elderly resident said that as a supporter of the move to install the blocks, she now feared for her and her neighbours’ safety. (Although it was a public meeting, Ōtaki Today has withheld the name of the speaker.)
“Our neighbours were surrounded by motorbike riders when [the neighbours] said they shouldn’t be on the beach,” she said.
She said she was “horrified” to see the vandalism of the signs on the beach, and that she and her friends had become worried about their personal safety.
“We’re all quite anxious. I’m not normally anxious, but I am now,” she told the community board.
She said she was also concerned about overly aggressive social media posts.
She supported the move to block the beach access as she was keen to protect the “nationally significant” ecology at the estuary. However, she felt her views could result in her or her property being targeted.
Brent Jarnell, who has opposed the blocks, also spoke at the meeting and agreed with deputy chair Michael Moore when he said there was no place in Te Horo for vandalism or intimidation.
“Couldn’t agree more,” Brent said.
He rejected the idea that any vandalism was from people who opposed the barriers.
Brent told Ōtaki Today that blaming those who opposed blocking the beach for vandalism “is nothing short of a smear piece to discredit detractors and fakery to promote [Michael Moore’s] views”.
He told the community board he wanted to stress the importance of deeper community consultation on issues such as the blocks.
“The community was consulted recently in 2020 during the 2021 beach bylaw review and thought it had been heard. If we could come together then, surely we can come together now.
“I believe that, but for a small minority, the Te Horo Beach community seeks a similar outcome, where other beach-goers are respected and safe, the ecology is enjoyed and protected, and the fantastic beach life we all enjoy is retained for generations to come.”
He said he had spoken to many residents who were keen to work together to identify and understand the issues, identify the desired outcomes and then reach practical solutions.
After the blocks were installed at the beach entrance, council signs had been smashed and graffiti scrawled over the blocks. A nearby residence also had holes drilled in a water tank.
Michael Moore, a beach resident, says police have not so far identified anyone in relation to the vandalism, but “it’s not the sort of behaviour we should have to put up with”.
The furore broke out just before Christmas when the blocks were installed. They have since been removed after Mayor Janet Holborow intervened.
The installation was in response to a submission by the Friends of Mangaone Lagoon to the November meeting of the board. The Friends were concerned about the threat to the ecology of the area, especially from vehicles.
Big blocks barney at Te Horo Beach
A furore has broken out at Te Horo Beach after some residents say they weren’t consulted about concrete blocks being installed at a beach access point. Kāpiti Coast District Council put the blocks in just before Christmas at the end of Te Horo Beach Road to stop vehicle access to the beach. The blocks are expected to be replaced soon by a... Keep Reading