The Hawkes Bay Experience on Coastal Hazards

Will TCDC follow?

For over a year I’ve been calling on TCDC to implement a coastal hazard action plan similar to that undertaken in the Hawke’s Bay.  The good news is that the Council has finally started to pay attention.  In early August a council workshop was held to specifically look at the Hawke’s Bay example and hear from the project manager Simon Bendall.

I have obtained a copy of his presentation and some of the key slides are shown below.  Click on this link to obtain a full copy of the presentation –Hawkes Bay Presentation

The presentation emphasises that inundation is the real threat. This contradicts the Council’s recent priorities which have concentrated on erosion issues at a few isolated locations. Inundation is a much greater threat around the entire coast, but especially on the western side of the Peninsula.


The slides point to the Shoreline Management Plan approach which has been adopted in the UK. TCDC is lucky to have the services of coastal engineer Jan Van der Vliet , who is familiar with this UK experience.


Whatever options are eventually agreed to, they are going to have to be consistent with the Ministry for the Environment Guidance and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.




One of the keys to success in the Hawkes Bay was that from the outset they took a joint approach between District and Regional councils as well as local iwi.


They also made sure that they had expert technical assistance with project management and not just coastal engineering issues but also cultural, social, and economic issues.


Another key to success was the use of Assessment Panels where the coastline was divided up into 16 coastal units and panel members involving the local community were used to assess risk and decide on options.



There was a lot of emphasis on the presentation on funding and who pays? As the slide points out, there are huge costs involved, but there are even greater costs from doing nothing.


Some very difficult decisions lie ahead particularly around the split between public and private funding.  LGNZ is actively working with central government to establish a nationwide policy framework on “who pays”


In the Hawke’s Bay the Technical Advisory Group established a “Working” Base Case for determining the split between private and public funding for various coastal protection options. This was then further refined once all the available information was to hand.


In this example for Haumoana the “base case” was adoptedHB12

The external costs were split equally between the 3 councils but key to success was the use of an independent project manager.


Simon Bendall has recommended that TCDC partner with both the Regional Council and with Hauraki District Council (as well as iwi). It is also very welcome that he has recognised the greater threat of inundation – particularly on the western side of the Peninsula in the Firth of Thames and has therefore recommended that a joint project between the three councils is commenced in the Firth.



TCDC has done well to invite Simon Bendall to outline the Hawke’s Bay experience. But now it is crucial that the Council take up his recommendations for a joint – three Council approach, and concentrate first on inundation threat in the Firth of Thames