Beach jurisdiction map
All beaches in New Zealand are subject to a range of central, regional and local government rules and the Kāpiti Coast is no different.
Roles and responsibilities: Who does what on our beaches?
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) has jurisdiction over the coastal marine area from mean high water springs into the water. In some significant sites GWRC jurisdiction can extend past mean high water springs. GWRC rules for the coastal marine area are contained in their Proposed Natural Resources Plan*. This covers a variety of activities including (but not limited to) the use of motor vehicles, boat launching and collecting shell fish. The Council can make rules for this area to protect public safety.
*Visit Great Wellington Regional Council for more information on Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Proposed Natural Resources Plan.
Kāpiti Coast District Council
Council regulates activities over the entire beach (including the coastal marine area**) from a health and safety perspective – basically all human activities. The Beach Bylaw creates the rules for Council-managed areas of the beach for important things like access, vehicles in some areas, horses, boat launching and environmental protections. We have jurisdiction from mean high water springs*** into the dunes, and we make rules for that area.
**The Marine and Coastal Area Act 2011 provides for the exercise of customary interests.
*** Mean high water springs describes the highest level that spring tides reach, on average, over a long timescale – often 18–20 years. The highest visible line of seaweed, driftwood and other marine debris that gathers on a shoreline over a year is generally a good indicator of mean high water springs.
Department of Conservation
The Department of Conservation has jurisdiction over the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve, extending into the Marine Reserve, and makes the rules for this area.
Police and Fire and Emergency New Zealand
The Police and Fire and Emergency also play a role on New Zealand beaches. Police are the only agency with the power to stop a moving vehicle, and FENZ issues fire permits.