The Kāpiti Coast
The Kāpiti Coast coastline is approximately 40 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.
Communities which plan for change are more resilient when it needs a response.
Coastal communities around New Zealand, and the world, are becoming increasingly aware of coastal hazards, such as coastal inundation (flooding by the sea) and coastal erosion.
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 our community to start planning for our future.
Our community-led coastal adaptation project
‘He Huri Whakamuri, Ka Titiro Whakamua’: One should turn backward, to look forward
This project aims to work in partnership with local iwi to inform, engage and work with our local community on the impacts and challenges of climate change and sea level rise on our district, to take part in developing solutions and ways of adapting to coming change. It will follow the Ministry for the Environment’s Coastal Hazards and Climate Change Guidance for Local Government and take advice and lessons learnt from the Hawkes Bay Coastal Hazards Strategy Plan and Makara Beach Project.
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
The community-led coastal adaption project will work to understand coastal hazards risks and the management options for Kāpiti. It will identify the areas that may be affected by various coastal hazards over the long term and the risks to public and private property, cultural sites and areas, recreational use and infrastructure services.
Why a community-led approach?
Join the conversation
Adapting to climate change and sea level rise is an ongoing challenge into the future. The potential impacts will lead to changes in our coastal communities and it is vital you are part of the conversation about a response to those changes.
Communities which plan for change are more resilient. This means working together so everyone is part of the decision-making processes. We will be asking people to volunteer to be actively involved through the Community Assessment Panel process.
How will we do this?
The project is summarised into three phases.
- Inform and engage: Launching the project and community-led process
- Coastal summit event and community engagement process
- Consult and collaborate: Working together to develop solutions
- Community Assessment Panel meetings
- Options and action
- Recommendations and implementation planning
What does success look like?
A sustainable, implementable and flexible 100-year coastal adaptation strategy developed for the Kāpiti Coast District. 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.
10 Step Decision Cycle from Coastal Hazards and Climate Change: Guidance for Local Government, Ministry for the Environment, 2017.
Community Assessment Panels
The Community Assessment Panel approach involves community members considering the issues and options and making recommendations back to the council decision makers.
The panel(s) will be a working group of local people, representing a cross-section of our community and the formal mechanism through which the wider community input, iwi and technical expertise are used to develop the medium to long-term adaptive solutions.
It is a consistent body of people who will meet regularly to consider the coastal hazards and risks they represent, review a range of adaptation options, assess cultural, social and economic impacts and make recommendations to Council.
The panels will be provided with cultural, technical and scientific advice to support them in considering the wide range of issues.
What are dynamic adaptive pathways?
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.
Adaptation not mitigation
Mitigation and adaptation are the two necessary approaches for addressing climate change issues. We need both however, the focus of this 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.
To understand the success and effectiveness of adaptation actions there needs to be a joint understanding between people within communities, local authorities and other key stakeholders. Adaptation is a shared responsibility and partnerships are critical.
Coastal Adaptation to Climate Change: Pathways to Change. Niwa 2011