Matapōuri sand replenishment

  • Project typeSand Replenishment
  • Project value$421,000
  • Project scheduleCompleted in 2021
  • Contractor nameUnited Civil Construction
Illustrative map showing sand movement at Matapōuri.

We gave nature a helping hand at Matapōuri Beach by taking up to 15,000m3 of sand that had become trapped in the estuary back to the beach.

This copied the estuary’s natural sand flushing process, which has been impacted by development, including the building of bridges across the estuary.

The majority of the sand was placed in an erosion hot spot (next to Te Wairoa Street) and over time will disperse along the beach naturally.

This work created more useable beach area when the tide is in and will protect public and private property against coastal erosion. It should last for about 10 to 15 years, depending on how many big storms happen in that time.


Coastal erosion is a natural process that has always happened at Matapōuri Beach. Before the area was developed, storms and floods would flush sand out of the estuary and it would settle along the shore of the bay and there was a natural equilibrium between the estuary and the beach.

When bridges were built across Te Wairoa and Parangarau Streams, they narrowed the stream channels and slowed the streams, so less sand was flushed back into the bay to wash up along the beach. Sand started clogging up the estuary, and the usable area of beach at high tide started to lessen.

Estuary ecology

To protect the ecology, the estuary will be surveyed. Important sea grass areas was pegged off and there was no sand taken from these areas.

The work was done between May and July to avoid the bird nesting season, and Te Whanau ā Rangiwhakaahu Hapū closely monitored the works throughout the project.

Plants and pedestrian access

When the sand replenishment is complete the newly formed dunes will be planted with native dune plants, pingao and spinifex, to hold sand and help build the dune following storms.

Northland Regional Council will be inviting the community to take part.

The new sand dunes will then be fenced off. Two new public access structures will be constructed, one off Te Wairoa Street and another half way along the sandspit, and an existing one near Morrison Road will be repaired.

The improved access and fencing will help to protect the sand dunes.

Project plan(PDF, 443KB)

The resource consent process

Whangarei District Council applied to Northland Regional Council for a resource consent to carry out these sand replenishment works and the application was publicly notified.

The consent was granted in 2019 by an independent commissioner on behalf of the Northland Regional Council.

Resource Consent Decision(PDF, 717KB)