Eastland Wood Council Statement

10 FEBRUARY 2023

Melissa Nightingale, a reporter for the NZ Herald, is publishing a story / report on the death of the young boy at Waikanae Beach last month.

Below is a statement from the Eastland Wood Council

“The death of the child on Waikanae Beach last month was devastating, and our hearts go out to their family, as we cannot imagine what they are going through. Our primary concern is the safety of our teams and the public in areas impacted by woody debris. While beach clean-ups are mostly completed in Tairāwhiti now after ex-tropical Cyclone Hale, we would urge the public to stay away from other impact areas where clean-ups are still ongoing.

Following slash issues in June 2018, the industry changed its practices to mitigate the risks of woody debris mobilising, including real efforts to improve resilience inside the forest gate.  We also reduced harvest residues left on sites, increased focus on improving the quality and robustness of the in-forest road infrastructure that has significantly reduced the risk of failure, increased streamside buffers and re-vegetation with native species to protect waterways. We also want to keep having conversations with central and local government about what more we can do in the future.

We also understand the community’s frustration, but as a community, we need to also recognise that woody debris comes from a variety of sources. As an industry, we are committed to doing better to restore the trust of the public. We are looking forward to being part of any discussions about our future in the community we call home. We want to be part of the solution, and for us that means a broad and rational discussion about future land use of Tairāwhiti that considers all land users and is based on science.”

Philip S Hope