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Six on community panel to solve erosion on Kāpiti coast

Press Release – Kapiti Coast District Council
Kāpiti District Council Mayor K Gurunathan today named six members of a new community-led panel set up to advise Council on possible solutions to future sea level rise and coastal erosion in the district.

“I am delighted to welcome the members of the Takutai Kāpiti coastal adaptation panel to help our district plan for the coastal challenges we’re facing. Their combined skills will give our district the best chance of making high quality, collaborative, and enduring decisions on how we respond to coastal change.

“Kāpiti is blessed to have about 38 kilometres of stunning coastline but this means we’re facing significant environmental challenges from rising seas. This affects the whole community because our coastline is part of our identity and way of life of everyone who lives here, so a community-led solution is essential,” Mayor Gurunathan said.

The community-led coastal adaption project, Takutai Kāpiti, was set up in 2019 to help guide the district’s response to adapting to coastal changes. The coastal adaptation panel will represent the views of the community and mana whenua in advising Council.

The panel was co-designed by a working group drawn from the district’s Tiriti partners, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Coastal Ratepayers United, North Ōtaki Beach Residents Group, Waikanae Estuary Care Group, and Council staff.

Mayor Gurunathan said the panel will look at the issue of sea level rise and coastal hazards, consider potential costs and legislative requirements, and provide options or solutions for adapting to change. Its recommendations should also guide development of District Plan provisions to manage coastal issues and an approach for the district in dealing with coastal hazards.

“The panel’s recommendations will both represent and be informed by community views,” Mayor Gurunathan said. “The community will have multiple opportunities to engage before anything makes it into the District Plan coastal provisions.”

The panel includes six community members engaged through a recruitment agency, and another six representatives are being appointed by iwi. All live in the district and have a variety of complementary skills, interests, and backgrounds including community engagement, climate and environmental science, governance, IT and business.

Council has also commissioned a coastal hazard susceptibility and vulnerability assessment which will be released soon to guide the panel’s discussions. The panel is chaired by former Prime Minister and Waikanae Beach resident Jim Bolger and will be supported by a technical advisory group of experts.

The iwi representatives will be announced in due course. The panel members named today are:

Kelvin Nixon

I have lived on the Kāpiti Coast since moving to New Zealand from Scotland in 1982 residing in Paraparaumu Beach, then Raumati, and finally Waikanae. I have grandchildren living on the coast and thinking of how we can make their future more sustainable is important – I believe our lot is trying to make life better for future generations.

I have had a long career in the IT industry and still maintain an interest running a small company.

I have helped organisations and departments restructure in roles as a business consultant prior to moving into a coaching role. This role involved career counselling which in turn led to team building, executive mentoring, and senior management development, primarily in central government.

Wanting to put something back into the community I am currently acting as a volunteer at Nga Manu, primarily working with the General Manager and Board to develop a Vision leading to a new Strategic Plan.

Having a great interest in weather and therefore climate change I see working as part of the coastal adaptation panel will give me an opportunity to contribute to the future of the Kapiti Coast as well as gain a greater knowledge about the difficulties and options that are facing us.

Don Day

I have spent a significant part of my career in public sector management working with seven local councils in the Manawatu, Waikato and Taranaki regions. Along the way I continued my education firstly completing the NZIM Management Diploma and then a Master of Public Policy degree from Victoria University of Wellington. My wife and I moved to the Kapiti Coast in 2002 to be closer to family based in Wellington. From our base at Paraparaumu Beach, I continued my career path working with governments, a not-for profit organisation, working as an independent consultant and as co-director of community engagement company, Engagementworks Ltd.

My current voluntary community service includes being a member on the KCDC Community Liaison Group for Kapiti Airport, Board Member and Secretary/Treasurer for Kapiti Living Without Violence and as an interviewer/Treasurer with Kapiti Citizens Advice Bureau.

Membership of the coastal adaptation panel provides me with an opportunity to contribute to one of the most significant challenges confronting our community – the impacts of climate change.

I look forward to learning more about our changing environment, how we will be affected and to working with our community to develop responses that ensure the ongoing safety of our district for both present and future generations.

Olivia Bird

Kia ora, my name is Olivia Bird. I am a student about to finish my Bachelor of Science at Victoria University. I have strong interests in climate change mitigation and remediation and am going to be pursuing my Masters in Ecological Restoration next year. Having been a Kāpiti local for all 20 years of my life, my love for the environment and the Kāpiti community drew me to the coastal adaptation panel position. I am looking forward to learning from everyone and working together to find a solution that benefits our community and the environment we call home.

Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae

My wife Janine and I have made the Kāpiti Coast our home since 1995, and our children have attended local preschools and schools here. I was born in Whanganui and I am of Māori and European descent. I have tribal affiliations across the central North Island from Whanganui to the Hawkes Bay and also English and Irish heritage.

My work has been at senior levels in the service of New Zealand, in public service and the military. I have governance and management experience handling complex and high value projects.

My interest in the Takutai Kāpiti Community Adaptation Panel is based on its community engagement remit: enabling our communities to be better informed about the risks, threats and exposure of climate change along the Kāpiti Coast and enabling ‘Kāpiti Coasters’ to have an influential role in shaping adaptation strategies here. To preserve the character of the Kāpiti Coast as a place to live, work and play over the short, medium and longer term we have a collective responsibility to work together and share our knowledge, skills and experiences. As a community, we can prepare for and adapt to a rising sea level and coastal change (accretion and erosion).

Susie Mills

Susie is from Waikanae Beach where she lives in her family home which was built in 1962 not far from the Waimeha Stream. Approximately 10 years ago following concerns with coastal erosion, she helped form the Field Way Dune Restoration Group. The group has been involved in restoration work around the Waimeha Stream supported by the Kāpiti Coast District Council. She is also a member of the Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand.

Susie has a law practice in Waikanae where she now works part time as a consultant. Her primary focus has always been land subdivision and historical property work, alongside a general law practice. She is also a member of the Waikanae Volunteer Fire Brigade and a founding trustee of the Kāpiti AED Trust. She is also known within the local art community with her involvement in glassmaking.

Dr Martin Manning, ONZM

In August 2021, 195 governments formally approved a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that includes the most detailed scientific review so far of future changes in sea level. This clearly supports planning frameworks that have been established in some countries to consider sea level rising by one metre or more in the next hundred years. However, local effects of this on coastal erosion and flooding back from the coastline are still not well known.

In 2008, I established Victoria University of Wellington’s Climate Change Research Institute that has developed methods for planning in the face of uncertainties. These need to be part of a social networking process that brings together a range of views on when and how to respond in proactive ways.

Read more about the Takutai Kāpiti Project at www.takutaikapiti.co.nz.

Read about the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s response to climate change at www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/climate-change

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