Page content Page content Section navigation Topic navigation Accessibility keys Sitemap Search Contact us portal


Photograph of Whangapoua Harbour On this page: Waikato's coastline; Coastal pressures and hazards ; Protecting our coasts; Charging for occupation of public space in the coastal marine area; Coastal database project and trial website; More information.

Waikato’s coastline

The Waikato region has about 1,150 km of open coast and estuarine shoreline. Our coastline has sites of outstanding beauty, and of high cultural and natural values. It also provides us with valuable resources.

Our coastline consists of two distinctly different areas:

  • East coast - Coromandel Peninsula and the Firth of Thames.
  • West coast - from just north of Port Waikato heads to the Mokau River mouth.

Check out where our key coastal areas are on our East and West Coast maps.

Find out about the different coastal ecosystems in the Waikato region

Coastal pressures and hazards

Many people enjoy living near or visiting coastal areas. Others rely on coastal areas for their livelihood. Coastal areas are spiritually and culturally significant to Maori.

Some human activities that can affect coastal areas include:

Coastal hazards in our region include:

Most of the threat from these hazards is to buildings located within the zone of natural shoreline change.

Our coastal areas are very valuable to us. We need to manage and prepare for these pressures and hazards, so that we can make the best use of our coastal resources while still protecting them for future generations.

Protecting our coasts

Waiakto Regional Council is responsible for managing the coastal marine area (CMA) that extends from mean high water springs to 12 nautical miles out to sea. District and city councils are responsible for managing land use in coastal areas above mean high water springs.

Waikato Regional Council wants to make sure that we enjoy and use our coastal areas sustainably. Check out our Regional Coastal Plan and Regional Policy Statement to see how we will achieve this.

We have coastal monitoring programmes in place to help us assess the state of our environment. For example, we are monitoring intertidal sediment-dwelling organisms and sediment characteristics in some estuaries through our Regional Estuary Monitoring Programme. Find out more about some of our monitoring programmes on our coastal indicators pages.

We monitor river levels around the region including some tidal sites. This information is updated every three hours - check out our latest readings.

We use environmental education to increase public awareness about coastal issues. Check out our Coasts and Us resource for schools.

We support fifteen Beachcare groups, which are working to restore coastal dunes in our region. Riparian management work, such as planting and fencing of waterways by Landcare and Harbourcare groups, helps decrease sediment and nutrient run-off to estuaries and the coast via streams and rivers.

Auckland Regional Council have produced a new series of Coastal Planting Guides.

Waikato Regional Council supports the Hauraki Gulf Forum Community Shellfish Monitoring Project.

Charging for occupation of public space in the coastal marine area

Most of the Waikato region’s Coastal Marine Area is public space, available to anyone in the community who wants to use and enjoy it. In some of these areas private or commercial structures or activities may affect people’s use of or access to our Coastal Marine Area (CMA).

Waikato Regional Council is now considering whether to charge for private occupation of public space in the Coastal Marine Area. Find out more about charging for occupation of public space in the coastal marine area and how to have your say.

Coastal database project and trial website

Since 2003, Waikato Regional Council and the Department of Conservation have been working on the development of a coastal marine information database for the Waikato region including a broad range of data (e.g. biological, geological, physical, chemical, social, recreational). The main objective of this project is to collate all available coastal and marine information for the Waikato region into one single source of information, freely available as a resource for government agencies, researchers, consultancies and the general public. The results so far are published on the Waikato coastal database website.

The database does not contain raw data, but provides sets of metadata sheets describing information about research projects, including the purpose and a brief summary of the research, the organisation or person who carried out the research, the date when the research was carried out, specific reports and related information, availability of the information and contact details to source the information. Database searches can be made based on location, keywords, organisations or themes.

If you have comments or feedback on the database or know of useful information that could be included in it, please email Vernon Pickett.

Note: This is a work in progress and is currently being updated. Most of the data was input from 2003 through to 2006. Some data may not be available.

More information

Check out our coastal publications.

Find out more about Māori perspectives on our coasts.