We’re proposing to break our coastal hazards adaptation planning programme into three phases.

The Urban Development and Transport Committee has now endorsed the coastal hazards adaptation programme report.(external link).

This phase is already well underway and is focused on setting things up, such as the Coastal Hazards Working Group(external link), and getting the information we need, such as commissioning an updated Coastal Hazards Assessment, appointing adaptation experts Royal Haskoning DHV to provide advice, and developing our processes. 

We’ve estimated this phase will take at least a year and we are already about nine months in.

This is when we start the city-wide conversations. While coastal communities will lead their own plans, other parts of the city may be asked to contribute financially, and there may be impacts that are shared across the district.

It’s important we have a city-wide conversation about what kinds of options are on the table, the process for shortlisting them, and how things might be funded.

It’s also important that children and young people are involved in this conversation – climate change is an inter-generational issue and future generations will be living with the impacts of decisions made now.

We’ve estimated this phase will take at least six months, starting later in 2021.

This is when we start talking with specific communities. Because the timing and severity of sea-level rise impacts will vary across the district there is time for adaptation planning to occur in tranches.

This also better recognises the diversity of communities and the different approaches that may best suit each community. 

We’re proposing to start adaptation planning with some of the communities in the Whakaraupō / Lyttelton Mt Herbert area. We’ve estimated this phase will take at least 1.5 years to do properly and we’ll be starting at the beginning of 2022.

Map of areas at risk from coastal hazards in the next 100 years, grouping and prioritisation of communities at risk. [PDF, 974 KB]

New Zealand is already experiencing the first impacts of climate change, and Christchurch is more exposed to sea-level rise than other cities including Auckland and Wellington.

Low-lying inland and coastal communities in Christchurch will be impacted by more frequent flooding and ponding and increased coastal erosion.

The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement requires councils to plan ahead for coastal hazards and consider a range of options in developed areas.

The Council identifies and manages risk from a range of natural hazards. More information on how we already manage flood(external link), slope instability(external link), liquefaction(external link), and tsunami(external link) hazards across the district.

We currently have a gap with how we manage coastal hazards so it is essential that we start this work now so we have a plan for managing this risk when it becomes a problem.


Our planning process will not be looking at solutions for tsunami risk specifically as the nature of the risk, and management is quite different to risk from coastal hazards such as erosion and flooding.

However, tsunami modelling will be used to make sure the wider risks are understood and to test the effectiveness of options from other shocks and stresses.