Our Kāpiti Story

Vulnerable Coastal Communities

Coastal communities around New Zealand, and the world, are becoming increasingly aware of coastal hazards (coastal erosion, accretion, inundation) and sea-level rise.

While there is still much uncertainty about how significant these challenges will be and how quickly they will happen, we know there is a crucial need for coastal communities to start planning for our future.

Communities which plan for change are more resilient when it needs a response.

The Kāpiti Coast

The Kāpiti Coast coastline is approximately 38 kilometres long. As well as being the location for significant urban development, our beautiful beaches are an important community asset with many unique characteristics and natural qualities.

As such, we are a community particularly vulnerable to a wide range of environmental challenges. Particularly, coastal hazards as our coastline is exposed to sea level rise and coastal erosion over time.

In Kāpiti we have faced some of these hazards in the past and understand some of the concerns. We can build on this knowledge to look ahead to ensure we are prepared to deal with the challenges of coastal hazards in the future, creating more resilient communities.

It is important that we are dealing with social and environmental challenges facing us, including climate change impacts. Adapting to climate change along with intensive development pressures on our coasts will be an ongoing challenge into the future.

Takutai Kāpiti: Our coastal adaptation project

The Takutai Kāpiti project is a collaborative process working in partnership with local iwi and supported by Kāpiti Coast District Council.

The project aims to encourage the Kāpiti Community to become more aware of the impacts of coastal hazard risks resulting from sea-level rise and climate change, and empower them to take part in developing solutions and pathways for adapting to coming change.

Indigenous knowledge and transparent, evidence-based and accessible science will be fundamental to empowering our community to respond to the changes ahead.

The Takutai Kāpiti project will follow the Ministry for the Environment’s Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance for Local Government and take advice and lessons learned from the Hawkes Bay Coastal Hazards Strategy Plan , the Makara Beach Project, and other coastal adaptation projects from around the country.

The Outcomes

Takutai Kāpiti will deliver recommendations on coastal adaptation options for Council’s consideration.

The recommendations, including any potential costs, legislative requirements and benefits associated with those options, should also guide development of District Plan provisions to manage coastal issues and an approach for the district dealing with coastal hazards. These recommendations will be evaluated by the Council as part of the development of the future coastal plan change.

Whakarongotai o te moana, Whakarongotai o te wā
As you listen to the tides of the ocean, so must you listen to the tides of the time

– Te Ātiawa Kaitiakitanga plan

How the community is involved

Join the conversation

We have appointed a panel of local people, representing a cross-section of our community, to be the formal mechanism through which wider community input, iwi and technical expertise are used to develop medium to long-term adaptive solutions.

Meet the Coastal Advisory Panel.

The panel is meeting regularly to consider the medium to long-term impacts of coastal erosion and inundation and the risks they represent, review a range of adaptation options, and assess these against cultural, social, and economic impacts.

The process

The Takutai Kāpiti project is split into three phases.

Phase One (Dec 2019 – 2020):

Launched and co-designed the project and process. The 2020 Takutai Kāpiti: Climate Change and Our Coast Summit launched the project through a conference and community event held on 8 March 2020.

Phase Two (current phase):

The establishment of a Coastal Advisory Panel of iwi, community, and key stakeholder and agency representatives. Regular panel meetings will start in September 2021.

Phase Three:

Recommendations to Council and implementation planning.

What does success look like?

A sustainable, implementable and flexible 100-year coastal adaptation strategy developed for the Kāpiti Coast District. The strategy would be based on the foundations of a risk-based, dynamic adaptive pathways planning approach which is informed by sound and applicable technical expertise. Guided by and with, an informed, meaningfully engaged and empowered iwi and community at the centre.

Why this approach?

The proposed approach is targeted at the development and implementation phases (1–8) of the Ministry for the Environment coastal hazards’ strategy guidance.

The terminology

Coastal Advisory Panel

The Coastal Advisory Panel involves community members considering the issues and options and making recommendations back to Council decision makers.

The panel is a working group of local people, representing a cross-section of our community and the formal mechanism for wider community input, iwi and technical expertise are used to develop medium to long-term adaptive solutions.

It meets regularly to consider the coastal hazards and risks they represent, review a range of adaptation options, assess cultural, social, and economic impacts, and will eventually make recommendations to Council.

Dynamic Adaptive Pathway Planning

Dynamic adaptive pathways planning identifies ways forward (pathways) despite uncertainty, whilst remaining responsive to change should this be needed (dynamic). In this approach a range of responses are tested against possible future scenarios.

Climate change and sea level rise effects will vary along the coastline and decision-makers face unavoidable uncertainty.

It is not possible, practical, or sensible to wait until uncertainties are removed before starting to consider what options might be preferred by the community.

This approach provides a process for planning and providing solutions amidst that uncertainty.

The process we are proposing to undertake is that recommended internationally and by the Ministry for the Environment. It has been used in recent years in Hawkes Bay and Makara on coastal issues. A range of response options will be explored.

Why adaptation not mitigation?

Mitigation and adaptation are the two necessary approaches for addressing climate change issues. We need both, however, the focus of the Takutai Kāpiti project is about resilience and adapting to change.
Mitigation is an intervention to reduce emissions or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases. It is about reducing the scale of climate change and requires global level influence

Adaptation is an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic change or its effects, which moderates harm or raises beneficial opportunities.

It is the approach taken in coastal and low-lying areas to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience on a local scale. The aim is to build resilience, so the impact is less.

How we adapt to change and the impacts of sea level rise is our opportunity to help prepare future generations.