The Post Newspaper recently received a Letter to the Editor with regards to the usage of Karioitahi Beach, and in particular, highlighting activities on the sand dunes. After a vehicle rolled recently, the letter comes as a timely reminder for beach goers about the bylaws that are in place on beaches and that permits for vehicle access are now up for renewal.
Waiuku Lisa Anderson
It has come to my attention that driving, riding motor bikes and horses, even walking, is actually prohibited by law on the sand dunes that run the length of Karioitahi Beach. Whether you use the part of the beach that belongs to Auckland City Council, Waikato Regional Council or privately owned, this destructive behavior must stop for the good of the beach, cliffs, flora and fauna. There is plenty of space on other parts of the beach to use for all the different activities that we enjoy down there so there is no need to be up on the dunes or anywhere near the private property that backs onto them. I think part of the problem is that some people, including myself, did not know that the law exists and more importantly did not understand the reason sand dunes are formed and what their purpose is. As the Police do not have a 4WD vehicle in this area to patrol the beach (utterly ridiculous, I know) it is up to us as beach users to learn the rules and also educate others in order to preserve the future of our beautiful environment.
Earlier in September this year, Waiuku Sergeant, Graeme Wood, reminded the Franklin community that Karioitahi Beach is classed as a road.
 “All usual road rules apply to the beach as well. So you can get speeding tickets, tickets for no warrants or vehicle registration, you can be processed for drink driving on the beach and you can be prosecuted for any bad driving on the beach.”
Sergeant Wood also reminded the community that there is a 24 liquor ban on the beach, the speed limit is 20km/hour, and to be able to have vehicle access, a permit must be obtained through Auckland Council.
It has just gone one year since the beach permits were introduced for Karioitahi. The permits came under the new bylaw known as Animal Management Bylaw 2015, to try to control and regulate vehicle access and behaviour on Karioitahi Beach. This new bylaw took the place of the former Franklin District Council bylaw that controlled activities on beaches.
“Everyone should be able to enjoy our beaches in ways that are safe for them, other beach users and the environment,” says Auckland Council Manager, Bylaws and Compliance, Max Wilde. “Under the Land Transport Act, beaches are legal roads, so all road rules apply.”
He says the council has a set of rules and guidelines for driving on beaches and issues permits to encourage responsible use and minimise any environmental impact.
The guidelines are as follows:
  • Take safety equipment, including a spade and a rope.
  • Always drive with headlights on.
  • Stick to the hard part of the beach below the high tide line.
  • Check tide times before you go out.
  • Access to the beach is three hours either side of low tide only.
  • Look out for partially submerged objects.
  • Stay off the dunes—fragile dune systems are damaged by vehicle use. Dune planting is used to bind the sand and reduce erosion, but bikes and 4WDs undo this work by creating tracks through vegetation which can lead to `blowouts’.
  • Always slow down when there are people or animals around—be considerate.
  • Be aware of shorebirds nesting at high tide.
  • The vehicle’s permit to be on the beach must be accessible—on a mobile phone or device is fine
The permits are free and can be applied for online through the Auckland Council website. Beach users need to apply for a new permit every year for each vehicle they want to use.
What are your thoughts on the permits for vehicle use on Karioitahi Beach? Do you believe that they have reduced environmental impact on our sand dunes and reduced irresponsible behaviour? Send us your thoughts via