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Happisburgh, Norfold, Costal protectionCoastal property is vulnerable to coastal processes (especially erosion) which is exacerbated by climate change (sea-level rise and storm events). The balance between the rights of property owners to protect their land, the responsibilities of government to protect the coastal environment, the rights of public access to the coast, and the protection of natural character, is fiercely contested.

Method and data

  • Case law analysis – see Falkner v Gisborne District Council [1995] NZRMA 462
  • Coastal Policy Plans, Resource consents.


The rights of proprietors to build sea walls to protect their property from the encroachment of the sea (by sea level rise of storm surge erosion), is limited by the ability for local authorities to implement coastal policy (like managed retreat) under the RMA and the NZ National Coastal Policy Statement that advances the protection of coastal environment and public rights of access. The expense and impermanent nature of sea walls means that local authorities should implement a policy of managed retreat – moving development away from the coastal environment.

Selected publications and outcomes

Strack, M. 2020. Managing retreat with regulation and compensation. Surveying+Spatial. 102:25-26.

Strack, M. 2019. 'The order is rapidly fadin'- Responding to the impact of climate change on property with reference to the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Journal of Property, Planning & Environmental Law. Vol 11(3): DOI:10.1108/JPPEL-03-2019-0007

Strack, M. 2017. Sustainable Coastal Development: Protect or retreat. Coastal Cities and their Sustainable Future II. WIT Transactions on The Built Environment, Vol 170: 63-72. WIT Press. DOI:10.2495/CC170071

Strack, M. 2016. 'Before it is washed to the sea' Coastal development and erosion. Civil Engineering Surveyor. Journal of the Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors.

Strack, M. 2016. Regulating Coastal Development. Geographical Interactions. New Zealand Geographical Society Conference. Dunedin. 1-4th February 2016.

Strack, M.S. 2014. 'They'll be drownded in the tide': Reconsidering Coastal Boundaries in the Face of Sea-level Rise. Geographic Research Forum. Vol.34:23-39

Strack M. 2014. Property rights, policy implementation and the impermanence of coastal land. New Zealand Coastal Society. Rere ki uta, Rere ki tai; From Land to Sea. Raglan. Abstract online:

Strack M. 2013. Coastal Property - Conflicts on the Coast. In: CASLE Conference proceedings. MANAGEMENT OF LAND AND SEA RESOURCES - what's new? Glasgow, Scotland. 8 – 10 July 2013;129-138. Full Paper “Coastal Property” on Conference memory stick and Paper no 18 in published proceedings. CASLE. ISBN 978-0-9564147-3-1.

Strack M, 2013. Coastal Erosion and Property Loss. In: Denys, P., Strack, M., Moore, A. B. & Whigham, P. (eds). (2013). Joint Proceedings of the NZIS Conference: Celebrating the Past, Redefining the Future and SIRC NZ 2013 Conference. Dunedin, New Zealand. New Zealand Institute of Surveyors.

Strack M. 2011. Preparing for the Invasion – retreat from the coast. Spatial Sciences & Surveying Biennial Conference Nov 21-25 2011. Wellington

Strack M. S. 2011. A Review of the NZ Coastal Policy Statement 2010. Survey Quarterly. 66: 28-29.

Strack M. S. 2011. Marine and Coastal Areas (Takutai Moana) Act – A Commentary. Survey Quarterly. 66: 26-27.

Strack M. 2010. Coastal Erosion and Property Rights in New Zealand. in Boateng I. (Ed) Spatial Planning in Coastal Regions: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change. FIG Commission 8 Working Group 8.4. pp 43-44.

Strack M. 2010. Property loss due to coastal erosion: judicial, legislative and policy interventions. The Construction, Building and Real Estate Research Conference of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Dauphine Universite, Paris 2-3 September 2010.

Strack M. S. 2010. Coastal Erosion and Property Rights – Judicial, Legislative and Policy Interventions. FIG XXIV Congress. Sydney. April 2010.

People Involved

Mick Strack

No public access at Cooks beach

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