The Waikato region’s coasts provide great recreational opportunities and are popular with holidaymakers. We need to make sure that our recreational activities don’t affect the coast’s natural character.
Recreational use of the coast can put pressure on natural character. For example, the outstanding natural and amenity values of the Coromandel Peninsula’s coast have encouraged the rapid growth of coastal settlements (largely holiday homes) and associated structures over the last 50 years.
It's estimated that the Coromandel Peninsula receives close to a million visitors per year. Holiday makers greatly swell the resident population during the peak summer period from Christmas Day to New Year’s Day.
Our recreational activities affect our coastal environment. These effects are increasing due to:
- population growth in the Waikato and nearby regions
- the growing numbers of people both from within the region, other regions and internationally, using coastal areas for recreation.
How recreational use affects our coasts
Recreational activities can damage sensitive and fragile environments (such as frontal dunes), removing vegetation and increasing wind erosion. Recently, concerns have also been raised about noisy motorised watercraft (such as jet skis) in our coastal areas.
Fishing is one of New Zealand’s most popular coastal leisure activities. More holidaymakers often means more harvest pressure on our fish and shellfish (and to a lesser extent plants). Find out about recreational fishing on the Ministry of Fisheries website.
As coastal development and subdivision increases, public access to the coast is decreasing.
- Find out more about access to our sandy beaches and why dunes are important.
- Check out the Dune Care Code for looking after our dunes.
- Order our booklet on dune care: Fragile: A Guide to Waikato Dunes.
What we are doing
Waikato Regional Council supports Beachcare groups to encourage dune care among coastal communities and protect and enhance the natural character of beaches and dunes. As well as restoring the natural vegatation of our dunes, Beachcare groups have installed beach access ways, signs and other measures to help manage human pressures. Find out more about Beachcare groups.
Over the summer of 2001-2002 we surveyed people at a number of beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula to find out more about who uses our coasts.
You can help
You can help protect our coastal environment.
- Some coastal plants, animals and their habitats are sensitive to disturbance by people and may get damaged easily.
- Place anchors correctly and securely. Moving or dragging anchors can damage fragile habitats.
- Respect historic and geological sites. Don’t remove artefacts.
- Take your rubbish home. Don’t leave plastics and fishing gear on the coast.
- Get involved. Take part in a beach cleanup or join a Beachcare or Harbourcare group.
- Respect protected areas such as marine reserves – find out what rules apply.
- Know and follow the regulations about collecting plants and animals – including fish, paua, crayfish, pipi and other shellfish. If you are unsure about the regulations for our region, check them out on the Ministry of Fisheries website.