NORTH PARAPARAUMU BEACH, NZ — When my friend Char first came to Paraparaumu several years ago, on a visit with her husband Chris and two young boys to visit Chris’s family, she took stunning photographs on North Paraparaumu Beach. At the time it was her inlaws’ backyard. She calls it her beach.
The Sunday after we arrived in New Zealand, my body shut down and said “stop! You’re sick!”, so I spent most of the day in bed. Char suggested late in the afternoon that everyone pile into the car and go for a beach walk to “shake out the cobwebs”, so I piled into one of the cars (it took two to take all of them plus Rio the boxer dog, plus Mom and I!) with everyone else, thinking the fresh air would be welcoming.
The beach touches the Tasman Sea, and you can see both Kapiti Island and, far in the distance, New Zealand’s South Island from this beach. After a real ripper of a storm, you can often find interesting seashells that are palm-sized. The weather had been fairly calm so we weren’t expecting any beach surprises, but we did find some interesting shells to take home.
(A clam shell and tire tracks, above.) The beaches are considered roads here, and we saw a couple of trucks that drove past. Two-wheeled dirt bikes or motorcycles aren’t permitted on the beach, but that doesn’t stop people from riding them onto the packed sand.
The fresh air was good for all of us. Beck and Angus brought us back shells that they found, and I revelled in the sight of Angus’ peaceful smiles. Beck, ever the playful one, did his special dance for me on one of the outflow type pipes that line the beaches.
We learned from Char, who works for the Kapiti district council, that the shoreline is eroding. We saw one of the retaining walls that the district maintains, and you can tell that encroachment due to heavy storms is winning.
Chris talked about the fishery in this area: I had recalled seeing pictures of him dragging for fish just offshore a few years ago, and asked about that. He said the fishery in the area was nearly wiped out (I can’t recall what fish) but fishermen decided to quit fishing to try and bring back the fishery. It worked, but it took a decade or so.
All in all, the quick trip to Char’s beach really did shake out the cobwebs.