Ahipara Left to Tangaroa

Sept. 28, 2018, 9:40 p.m.

Ahipara is set to change dramatically, according to the Northland Regional Council’s coastal hazard maps. Properties on both sides of Foreshore Rd may flood and erode. Korora St could be totally wiped out by waves, and the Kaka St properties from Korora St to the beach may no longer exist.

That is the anticipated situation in 100 years’ time, if ‘conservative’ sea level rise predictions come true.

Resident Edward Berghan does not believe he will see sea level rise in his lifetime. But having lived in Ahipara for much of his 80 years, he has already seen the impact of coastal erosion on the low-lying community.

“I have seen that they've predicted the high water mark is gonna be at the foot of those hills here at the back of us” says Berghan and reiterates that he does not believe it will happen in his lifetime.

If nothing is done to stop the erosion, beach-front residents like Berghan may be forced to move out, leaving their houses to Tangaroa. 

Ahipara Community Coast Care representative Doug Klever is not sure if the sea level rise predictions will come true, but has witnessed “quite severe” erosion from Wairoa Stream and some "viscious storms".

“There are some houses that I believe are in danger.”

Klever says Northland Regional Council issued Ahipara with “pretty dire messages”, then told the community it was on its own.

“I would dearly love the council to do something.”

But council chairman Bill Shepherd says it is the council’s job to inform the community about the potential impact of sea level rise, not to take on the risk of protecting properties from it.

In the worst-case scenario, low-lying beach-front property owners may be forced to walk away with nothing, but Shepherd says they should have had “some inkling” of risk when they bought.

In Ahipara, thousands of spinifex plants have been planted to stabilise the sand dunes. The work is done by the coast care group with the help of the regional council, Te Rūnanga o te Rarawa and the kids from the local schools around its Mapere block.

Please follow this link for further information on the NRC coastal hazard maps: https://maps.nrc.govt.nz/portal/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=abaaf44185fd4cef8cbcc2f7eec7a0df

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