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Friends of Cooney Reserve

Progress with installation has been painfully slow. 

We have funding for 11 seats. At the time of writing this report, 8 concrete pads are laid, 7 seats installed and one pad to be removed as it is now found to be in the wrong place.

It is difficult to understand why Council has taken so long to complete this project. Had the seats been installed by a local builder and supervised by a community volunteer to Council’s specifications then all the seats would be in place by now.               Jan Mayston

Volunteers have worked diligently for another year, keeping the tobacco and ginger removed and vegetation trimmed back along the cycleway.  After no working bees for a few months due to Covid 19 restrictions our lack of presence during this time was noticeable. 

The main problem weeds in Cooney Reserve are Pampas, cotoneaster, black wattle, barbary, morning glory, ginger and tobacco plant. The damage to the vegetation caused by careless weed spraying and mowing is an on-going concern. 

Unfortunately, the planting bee organised for July did not take place but has been rescheduled for September 14th.  The volume of native seedling is heartening to see.  I have seen pittosporum, totora puriri.  Unfortunately, weeds appear to germinate and establish more rapidly and if not removed tend to smother the natives.  I have noticed more kapok (moth plant) and passion flower of late.  Morning glory continues to be a problem smothering and killing even 6 metre trees.

Tents were removed during the summer, where youths had set up camp.  Unfortunately, the occupants had cut quite a number of trees, opening up the canopy.  The council app for reporting such instances is not working well, with the Downer workmen failing to find the pin point marked on their app.  Fortunately, I was able to physically show them and remove the tent, chairs and bottles littering the area.

Toilet paper and faeces is a common find near the public car park used by camper vans and cyclists travelling on the cycle trail.  A toilet facility is needed as this unsavoury practice is a health hazard, toilets in this area would be a welcome addition and an enhancement for the users of the walkway /cycleway.

The fore shore continues to erode polluting the harbour.  Pampas has taken hold in this area again which is concerning as it has previously been deliberately lit resulting in a vegetation fire in 2012.

Two long standing volunteer couples have resigned from the group due to frustration caused by a perceived lack of Council support and co-ordination of duties by Council plus a lack of new volunteers joining the group.  Sadly, therefore the group will now disband.

Jan Mayston

A small group of volunteers continue to meet on the first Wednesday of the month to release trees from Kikuyu grass and keep on top of the Tobacco and wild ginger weeds. The cycle way has recently been upgraded and the muddy section filled with metal. It is heartening to see the huge numbers on the new cycleway, of bikers, walkers and dog walkers. The new dog exercise signage is working to inform dog owners to keep their dogs on leads while on cycleway, unfortunately we are increasingly finding doggy doo bags flung into the trees. Rubbish bins are required as the nearest available bin is in Beach Grove. Toilet facility in Cooney reserve would also be appreciated.

Jan Mayston

  • A keen group of workers now meet on 2nd Monday of each month 9.30 – 12md.
  • Primarily work at clearing weeds such as Tobacco, and Ginger and keeping the cycleway clear of vegetation. Despite our efforts, Pampas, Black wattle, passionflower and ginger is still visible from the pathway.
  • The mowing of the reserve although very wet conditions lately, is being mown to a pleasing standard.
  • More dogs on a lead signs are needed on the cycleway.
  • Rubbish bins and Toilets are on our wish list, along with security cameras.
  • The storms of late have eroded the harbour edge significantly. When they add sand to the Domain Beach I hope that they also re-sand this (once was) beach area.
  • The group requested a Program of work by the contractors, in May, So that we can work in tandem with the contracted work, but this has not been supplied.
  • Sadly Alan Fox reported last week, that for the first time in 10 years he counted no birds on the Cooney Reserve sand spit. He attributes this to dog, horse and motorbike disturbance.
  • I continue to set my 3 tims traps with continued success this year. If anyone knows of possoms on their property please let me know and I will be around there with a trap ASAP.
  • On 16 August we have invited the community and the senior pupils from Omokoroa Point School to join us in planting 500 assorted Tenex, Oioi, Wiwi and Muelunbeckia in Area 1, as identified in the planting scheme drawn up in 2014.  It is great to see this project finally underway and the intent is to continue with a new area each planting season.

Jan Mayston


It is heartening to see so many visitors, both locals and visitors using Cooney Reserve over the holidays. 5 campervans have enjoyed the area over this last, long, weekend.

Recently a Willow branch fell and broke the top off a Pohutukawa. Kind neighbours released the Pohutukawa the next day and council dealt with the remaining mess 10 days later.

Although the fence lines have been sprayed there is an ongoing issue with morning glory and kikuyu smothering trees.

Safety on the driveway is still a concern. This being a multi-use driveway and with increased numbers of people using it, maybe a footpath is needed as well as the roadway.

Rubbish bins are needed, the closest bin is Beach Grove.

There is a conflict of interest with motorbikes and horses traversing the bird reserve area. Either it is a bird area or motorbike and horse exercise area. Dogs on a lead signs on cycleway are needed.

Jan Mayston