Kayakers will have to remember to take their craft home with them this summer. The Waiheke Local Board has announced that abandoned kayaks will be ticketed, with a 14-day grace period before they are removed and Onetangi Beach will be the first focus.
Local board member Robin Tucker says that this move has been a long time coming. “The idea started in 2019 with the last board. We focused on removing the kayaks in August 2021 at Enclosure Bay. Out of the 50 kayaks stickered, only one of them was not claimed in the end and that was derelict.”
There are environmental harms in kayaks being left on the beach, she says. The most concerning is the potential damage to the trees. “We are getting the trees back. It is important for shade during the summer. There have been kayaks tethered to pōhutukawa trees and this can prevent the tree from getting the water it needs,” Robin says.
Warwick Grey, a long-term resident on the island, was involved in the initial discussion in May last year when a post of his on the Waiheke community Facebook page sparked debate on the upturned kayaks at Enclosure Bay. • Olivia Walker