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Deep dive into planned coastal retreat in Hawke's Bay


Managing increasing hazards along the Hawke’s Bay coast through planned retreat is the focus of a new report that provides guidance on implementation and costs.

The Tonkin+Taylor report Implementation approaches and indicative costs for planned retreat was commissioned by the Joint Committee leading the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazard Strategy 2120. It outlines what planned retreat could look like in Hawke’s Bay as part of its work on a response strategy, says Joint Committee Chair and Regional Councillor Jerf van Beek.

The Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazard Strategy 2120 is a collaboration between Hastings District, Napier City, and Hawke’s Bay Regional councils, mana whenua and communities along the Clifton to Tangoio coastal areas.

“Our strategy looks at different ways of managing coastal hazards like erosion and inundation due to the effects of climate change on the coast between Clifton and Tangoio over the next 100 years. Planned retreat has been recommended as a long-term response in some areas but we needed to find out more about it,” says Councillor van Beek.

“Planned retreat has not been well-defined in how it can be achieved at scale in New Zealand. Without a nationally consistent model we wanted to understand how it could be applied in Hawke’s Bay,” says Mr van Beek.

The Regional Council’s Group Manager for Asset Management, Chris Dolley, says this report enhances local understanding on what planned retreat might look like, what areas might need to be retreated if nothing is done to reduce hazards risks, by when, and at what cost.  
“The report is clear and does not constitute a recommendation for the implementation of planned retreat in preference to other options. Rather, it gives the community information needed to make decisions,” says Mr Dolley.
The report shows that planned retreat is expensive, takes a long time to implement, and has a big impact on the community.

“The report considers different ways to retreat, and explains that each approach has its own challenges.
As expected, the costs are significant, with a high-level estimate of just under $2 billion to implement retreat over the lifetime of the strategy. The costs include planning, preparation, engagement, enabling investment, active retreat, and clean up. This helps us to understand the merits of where to defend coastal land to buy time.”

“This report gives us a much clearer picture of what might be involved in a planned retreat response, meaning we can better compare different options to manage coastal hazards in Hawke’s Bay,” adds Mr Dolley.

The report does not describe how future costs should be apportioned to landowners, councils, or the managers of infrastructure assets.

The report has options that include the purchase of properties, noting these options have not been proposed, discussed, or decided by the Coastal Hazards Joint Committee, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council or Hastings District Council.

The full Tonkin + Taylor report is available here.

A Regional Council proposal asking who should take charge of adapting to coastal hazards between Clifton and Tangoio is currently open and running until 31 July. Feedback can be made at

More information on the Clifton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards project is at

14 July 2022

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