Rugged West Coast due to erosion, but people who live there want to stop it

Some people just have to whinge.

The king tide was beautiful yesterday morning as it lapped on the rocks outside my house. But on the West Coast, made rugged by erosion, storms, and tides, they are wanting to halt nature.

The king tide has passed uneventfully along Auckland’s coast this morning, but it’s bringing waves of anxiety to the West Coast.

Buller District Council’s beach camp at Punakaiki is taking a battering.

Manager Craig Findlay said there was erosion all along the foreshore, and it would be the end of the weekend before the extent of the damage was clear.

He said waves were undercutting big trees at the southern end of the camp, and he expected some established trees would be lying in the sand by the end of the weekend.Mr Findlay said it would be devastating to lose large trees to the tidal battering, as they were irreplaceable.

Wave upon wave continues to batter a West Coast campground as this weekend’s king tide pummels the foreshore.

Yeah, that’s what tides do…and the wind…but claiming trees…which grow…are irreplaceable is ridiculous. Some people say stupid things. Plant some more.

Punakaiki Beach Camp manager Craig Findlay said they won’t know the full extent of the erosion until the consecutive king tides abate, but expects around one-and-a-half metres will be washed away from the front of the camp by the end of the weekend.

“What you see is waves riding up the beach and pushing into the edge of the camp, which is predominantly now a vertical face of sand with trees and shrubs on its edge,” said Mr Findlay.

“The significant thing is it’s now undercutting the big trees to the southern end of the camp, so I would expect we will see some established trees lying in the sand by the end of the weekend, which will be devastating because we can’t replace them.”

Mr Findlay said a West Coast Regional Council report by coastal engineers is expected to be released next week, which he hopes will provide some solutions for a mechanism that will save both the foreshore and the camp.

I wonder how that stupid “pristine beach” that people wanted to buy fared. One day a big storm will wash that away…it’s a sandpit exposed to the ocean with a river behind it…one big storm event and it will be gone; pristine no more.

I watch the tide and storms move literally tonnes of sand outside my place…it is awesome. Four weeks ago there was almost no sand outside my place; now it is piled up halfway up the rocks. That’s nature.


– NZ Herald


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  • Bud

    To expect anything to stay the same is absurd, particularly something like a beach which is literally an erosion feature…

    • Allen

      It’s called the King Canute syndrome!

      • Second time around

        And to be fair to King Canute, he didn’t believe it either, he wanted to demonstrate to his followers that he was just a human and only God had supreme power. John Key could organise a similar demonstration for the Greens and Labour who expected him to be able to turn the tides of dairy misfortune.

  • sandalwood789

    Should be easily-enough fixed (for a cost, but anyway….).
    Get lots of massive concrete blocks (or those tetrahedral concrete things). Dump them in a (say) 10-metre wide strip along the affected coast. Problem solved – the waves bash up against those and expend all of their energy there.

  • Dumrse

    Why don’t they just call on Moses. He was obviously trained and skilled.

    • KatB

      If he’s too busy, maybe Noah may be of more use soon.

    • Hard1

      Moses? “Let me tell you the one thing I have against Moses. He took us forty years into the desert in order to bring us to the one place in the Middle East that has no oil!”

      ― Golda Meir

  • dumbshit

    A family friend who has passed away, had a 7km long beach claim adjacent to Barrytown. His theory was that the gold had washed out of the cliffs as they eroded, and was now being washed back to the beach. He mined it quite successfully for about 15 yrs.

  • Greg M

    The coastline moves around a lot down there. The sea washes it away, then the rivers and glaciers bring down a whole lot more material which replaces it. That’s the way it works and nobody is going to stop it.

  • Dan

    This is a problem with an education system that does not value Science but rather “Political studies,” “Drama,” and “Journalism.” In science they would have learnt that sand exists only because of erosion in the first place. More erosion = more sand. They would have learnt that sand moves around…a lot. They would have learnt that sand out on the sea floor can be dumped in huge volumes on coastlines one day, and washed away the next. They would have also learnt that vegetation holds soil and sand together.They would have learnt too that King Tides happen about twice a year for the last (I don’t know) millions of years? Perhaps they did not learn that King Tides are apparently great for fishing.

    Instead we read headlines like “King Tides Set to Hit Auckland this Week,” like it is some kind of hoard invasion of a Game of Thrones or LOTR proportion. This followed by “Wave of Relief – King Tide fails to annoy Auckland commuters.” (TVNZ) But that doesn’t stop International Sea Level Rise expert Professor Jonathan Bamber saying that levels are expected to rise by 30cm in the next 50 years. International Sea Level Rise Expert? (For heaven’s sake… an ISLRE!) He bleats along this line, after Tamaki Drive failed to awash with the tide like last September’s King Tide, which as I recall happened during a really bad storm in Auckland that same time.

    Here in the tropics we see people buying up coral rock coastline and smooth it over with truckloads of white sand from nearby, only to have the next surge, tide or cyclone move it out to sea or across to the next door’s back lawn.

    Then there are the countless atempts worldwide to prevent erosion by building groins, sea walls or causeways with devastating results as humans try to block nature. Think the poster child of the Climate Changeologists, Kiribati for a good example.

    Pretty soon there will be suggestions from some people to prevent earthquakes by using giant cable ties or staples across fault lines to stop them moving. Who woud be surprised?

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Wonder how long Findlay has been there? It is erosion that makes people and especially tourists aware that there even is a place called Punakaiki. The turbulent tides add to the attraction of the Pancake Rocks without which it would be another dot on the map. What a prat.
    However it is a western coastal Buller attraction and not actually part of the West Coast.

  • KatB

    Kiribati is looking like a good option.

  • rustyjohn58

    I read some time ago in some article on NZ geology that the west coast of the South Island is about 8km further west than when Able Tasman stumbled on good old NZ. Mainly due to erosion of the southern alps and all those shingle rivers dropping rocks into the Tasman Sea. So I would think it’s just a temporary problem.

  • Uncle Bully

    There’s an old boy here at the beach where I live wants the council to construct a sea wall to stop the esplanade in front of his house washing away. Clearly a socialist who wants council to spend other people’s money to preserve something that is, at best, temporary. Dreamer.

  • Disinfectant

    Hey fella’s, don’t worry.
    The next Alpine fault-line rupture which is about due sometime around now will lift the beach at least another two metres.