Before and After - click on the thumbnail for a larger image

Suggested Improvements Before After
Leaving the distracting twigs and footprints and other stuff in might be more "real", but we're not after "real" here, we're after Impact [Wow!]. Nice work with the blurred water.
Kereru [or any other bird] up against branches and sky is always difficult, but we've made it stand out better than before.
I like how you have resisted the temptation to put the whole building in the frame but just concentrated on one side. The flax frames the left side well. Another composition that might work well could be cropping quite a lot off the RHS and off the bottom [up above that smudge on the green door. That would be more abstract. But your composition gives better context. I'm not sure which crop I like best.
It was easy to make this photo look considerably better. Pulling the White and/or Highlights sliders to the left and/or using Dehaze [in Photoshop CC] put detail and interest back into the light bits at the top: the sea, waves, and beach.
More than most other photos I've seen from that day, this one says "Piha" the most. There's a lot to like. You've got a nice summery sky, the sea, the beach, Lion Rock, a sign, the sand dunes, and the nice diagonal curve of the path inviting the viewer to go to the beach. So - well done. Your colour and contrast are good - "real" or close to real, and crisp but not too crunchy. I'd tidy the sand a bit [I often do that], getting rid of some of the things that the photographer "could" have bent down and picked up if he/she had wished, including the seaweed. After tidying, it will still look "real" but will now look cleaner and tidier.
See what some lightening [and some extra Clarity in the shadows] does? I've lightened the bottom half more than the top half, as the top wave was already pretty light.
It's already a great photo in my opinion, and could be made even better with a few minor bits of tidying up: spot removal or clone stamp or healing brush or Content Aware Fill for the footprints and other bits of stuff in the sand at bottom right, a black dot in stream in distance [two actually - one at edge], two white dots beyond them, the pale horizontal streak in the clouds in centre of photo and the small bit of white/pale cloud in top left corner.
Composition good. Overall colour balance a bit too cyan/green [cold] so I warmed the colour balance a tad, also used Dehaze [in Photoshop CC] and/or White/Highlight sliders to bring out a bit more detail in the light parts of the sky.
There was a faint catchlight in the dog's eye which I accentuated using an Adjustment Brush, very small, and increased the exposure. I could have made it brighter, and tried that, but it looked false, so I stayed with this subtle lightening of the catchlight in the eye. Too subtle to make much difference probably, but worth trying.
As you can see I've softened [lessened] the contrast, brought some detail back into the highglights, lightened the shadows, and got rid of a few minor irritants down at bottom right.

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