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Coastal experts meet

Coastal experts meet

Climate change, marine conservation, and marine biosecurity risks are just three of the topics being discussed at the 21st annual New Zealand Coastal Society Conference.

Keynote speaker Professor Paul Komar, Oregon State University, set the tone for the conference with a discussion on the Earth’s changing climate and coastal hazards. While much of Dr Komar’s work has been undertaken in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, he has also been involved in studies in the Hawke’s Bay.

NZCS President Dr Deirdre Hart says the conference is a time for researchers and practitioners to discuss pressing issues like climate change, water quality, and coastal conservation.

“As an island nation, we are particularly vulnerable to issues like rising sea levels and extreme weather events. The conference offers an opportunity for coastal experts across many disciplines to come together to discuss issues and look for solutions.”

Conference organiser Don Neale agrees and says Hokitika provides the perfect venue for this year’s conference.

“Like many other coastal communities in New Zealand, Hokitika has a long and interesting history with its coastal environment. It has always been challenging to balance the needs and wants of coastal communities with the realities of a dynamic coastal environment, and that is being compounded by the effects of climate change. Through fieldtrips and conference sessions we are taking a closer look at some of the issues facing coastal communities today.”

On the final day of the conference, Coastal Champion Bill Southward will discuss how community members can get involved in advocating for environmental management change. A second generation resident of the coastal settlement Little Rakaia Huts, Mr Southward’s observations and advocacy work have contributed to our scientific understanding of Canterbury’s braided river systems and have been instrumental in informing Canterbury’s water policy. In recognition of his contributions, earlier this year he received the New Zealand Coastal Society’s inaugural National Coastal Champion Award.

NZCS conference: ‘The Coast: Rough around the Edges’, 19 to 22 November 2013, Hokitika. Conference sponsors include the Department of Conservation, NIWA, Ross Dowling Marquet Griffin Barristers and Solicitors, the West Coast Regional Council, Eliot Sinclair, MWH, MetOcean Solutions Ltd, and Westland Milk Products.

For the full conference programme and more information visit


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