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Kaikoura earthquake inspires coastal expert conference

Media Release

Wednesday 14th November 2017

Kaikoura earthquake inspires coastal expert conference

Today coastal scientists, engineers, planners, and managers gathered in Tauranga for the New Zealand Coastal Society’s 25th annual conference.

Coastal experts from around New Zealand and overseas have come together to discuss the constant changes to our coasts as a result of the impacts of coastal processes, biodiversity, climate change and human development and how we are best to manage these.

A particular highlight of the “Changing Coasts - Papaki kau ana nga tai o Mauao” Conference was the Keynote Address, which delved into changes experienced in Kaikoura after last year’s earthquake. “There is a tension between rebuilding quickly and rebuilding deliberately, but the enabling emergency legislation certainly assisted this process,” said Manea Sweeney, Tonkin & Taylor Principal Planner, who led the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Environmental work programme.

Flexibility in the emergency planning framework enabled innovation through the recovery process, noted co-presenter Dr. Leigh Bull, an Ecologist and Senior Principal at Boffa Miskell and NCTIR Project Ecologist. “For example, we needed to be innovative in how we dealt with the NZ fur seals and successfully using heli-herding to move the seals away from slips was a world first”.

“The Kaikoura earthquake has presented an enormous opportunity to understand more about the process of natural hazards and how to respond. New Zealand needs a natural hazard post event planning framework in place and we still have a lot of work to do in this area,” said Manea.

Over the next couple of days, the conference attendees will be hearing from experts in fields such as water quality, tsunami hazard, coastal restoration and balancing the costs and benefits of protection against coastal hazards. The popular ‘Coastal Careers Chat’ and breakfast provides a unique chance for students to chat openly with a group of coastal professionals, and a Panel Discussion offers the opportunity to learn more about cumulative effects around the coast and idea of managed retreat of coastal properties and settlements.

NZCS Chair Hugh Leersnyder says the annual conference gives coastal researchers and practitioners a place to come together and examine some of New Zealand’s most pressing coastal issues.

“Our coasts are under immense pressure and constantly changing due to both human and natural causes. The opportunity for coastal professionals to share knowledge from their work and research is essential. One of the Society’s strengths is that it encourages robust discussions across disciplines and helps to foster new approaches to the challenges.”

End.


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