SESSION THEME | Visions - Climate Change


The threat of climate change on the role and value of esplanades

Wednesday 1 April,  

Climate change and rising sea levels are a key issue for local authorities to consider when acquiring new coastal reserves. This is critical with Auckland, Christchurch Wellington and 500 authorities worldwide declaring climate emergencies. 

As part of new development adjoining the coast, developers are required to provide a 20m wide esplanade reserve in accordance with s230 of the RMA. The purpose of esplanades is to protect conservation values, enable recreation and provide public access.

It is at the time of development the decision is made on how to futureproof new esplanades against natural hazards, including erosion and rising sea levels. This is typically a conflict between hard protection structures or having wider esplanades.  Hard protection structures are commonly favoured over natural defences as they allow an increased development yield. However, these can have high cost implications and impair the ability to act as Kaitiaki for the natural environment.  This evokes conflict between natural and development values and has significant long term implications for local authorities.

This presentation investigates these risks for local authorities as land owner, regulator, and risk manager.  It also looks at the threat climate change, combined with a housing shortage, has on the role and purpose of esplanade areas and how well we achieve the objectives of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.   A case study of a new housing development on a wahi tapu coastal island in Papakura demonstrates how a great open space outcome can be achieved through partnerships between council specialists, the developer and iwi.  This is an exemplar of how innovation and collaboration can lead to the protection of the intrinsic value of reserves for future generations.

Presenter:  Kate Talbot (née Richardson)

Senior Parks Planner, Auckland Council

Senior Parks Planner, Kate Talbot is passionate about achieving great open space outcomes. In her current role at Auckland Council, Kate is at the forefront of ensuring greenfield developments have great open space networks and is an advocate for recognizing open space as critical infrastructure for a world class city.   Kate keeps up to date with best practice as a representative of the Recreation Aotearoa Northern Committee and recipient of the NZRA New Recreation Professional Scholarship 2019


 New Zealand Planning Institute | +64 9 520 6277 | |

Planning together for a better New Zealand.

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