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Congratulations Sarah Heritage on Graduating with Two Science Degrees

Congratulations Sarah Heritage for graduating Masters with 1st Class Honours and Postgraduate Diploma in Science with Distinction on the same day!  Her impressive credentials now read ‘Masters in Science and Postgraduate Diploma in Science.’

Both degrees are specialisations in environmental management, proving how very clever she is.

Sarah is one of our planning consultants working on resource consents, processing consents, assessment of environmental impacts, Unitary Plan advice, feasibility studies and policy reviews.

One example of Sarah’s work is that she recently had an article written in the Kaipara Lifestyler magazine based on her thesis topic of Baylys Beach.  14km west of Dargaville, the beach is a stunning 100km of golden sand dunes on our wild West Coast.

Sarah’s thesis looked at the history of the area focusing particularly on the subdivision in the 1930’s as well as the recent Sunset Drive subdivision in 2006.  Her family connections to the area helped build a fuller picture of the character of the area.

Sarah said “I’ve always had an interest in coastal development.  I’m also fascinated in how the area has managed to maintain its lovely old-fashioned bach-character despite being only three hours’ drive to Auckland.  How did it become the beachside community it is today? I noticed the Sunset West subdivision has barely changed since lodgement of the application in 2006 and very few houses have been built.  My research delved into the history, records, experiences and opinions of those who live (and lived) there, with the overall objective being to explore how places and communities develop over time.”

History of Baylys Beach:

  • The area was largely uninhabited during the 1800s due to European perceptions of a lack of resources and Maori regarding the area as a no-man’s land due to tribal conflict;
  • Tinne and W. Marriner of the Kaihu Flax Company leased land from Maori and eventually obtained freehold title of the Kaihu No. 1 Block in the 1870s;
  • Kaihu No. 1 Block was then sold to J. Nimmo who attempted, but failed, at coal mining in the latter 1880s;
  • In 1908 George Bayly purchased the block, the first to turn the wider Baylys Beach area into productive agricultural land;
  • In 1914, the Bayly Town Camp Club was established in a gully towards the south of the current township;
  • A few years later, the Chases Gorge Camp Club was established in the northern gully;
  • In the 1930s the original Baylys Beach farm was subdivided and 170 sections offered for sale, although growth was slow;
  • The next major subdivision didn’t take place until 2006, when the Sunset West Development was completed, offering 86 sections. This wasn’t well timed and hasn’t been a success due to the economic downturn as well as a lack of support from local community.

Sarah said “The two camp clubs at Baylys have definitely been a driving force in retaining the character of the area. The owners have been there for a long time, they hold the cards in terms of development in the area.   Votes have occurred to freehold the camp clubs over the years, but have ultimately been rejected.

“Another interesting factor is that the area appears to have been one of very few that has not been subject to a Waitangi Tribunal claim, possibly because of its contested Maori history.”

Sarah added “this was a thoroughly interesting project.  It was great to able to give the community a presentation on the history, information and insight into the development and culture of Baylys. It is the everyday experiences of those who live, work and recreate there, that create the unique character of the community. This has helped me in my career as I believe I now have a greater understanding of the needs and concerns of coastal communities and how they operate.”

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