Best Practice Design

Development may be designed to preserve natural character by incorporating the following elements:

(1) Retain natural landforms

Through the development process preserve the natural landforms, ecological processes and drainage patterns that occur within the site:

  • Locate buildings well back from important landforms and key providers of ecological processes, such as streams and wetlands
  • Maintain a natural vegetation buffer
  • Minimise earthworks

Undesirable example: Cable Bay, Far North District

By butting into the natural land contours and failing to reinstate indigenous vegetation cover, this development has negatively impacted on the natural character of this site.

Cable Bay Development (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Tryphena, Great Barrier Island

These house have been incorporated into the natural landform and have retained the surrounding indigenous vegetation, thereby reducing their impact on natural character.

Tryphena, Great Barrier Island (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(2) Avoid visually-intrusive structures

Minimise the amount of visually-invasive structures, buildings and infrastructure:

  • Keep buildings off headlands and ridgelines
  • Provide a generous set back from the coastal edge and riparian margins
  • Adopt a building design and form that is in keeping with the coastal environment

Undesirable example: Little Kaiteriteri Beach, Tasman District

These large visually-intrusive houses, several constructed on the ridgeline, have had a significant impact on the natural character of this beach.

Desirable example: Medlands Beach, Great Barrier Island

These houses have been build with a generous set back from the coastal margin and have been kept off the prominent headland, which has retained much of the natural character of the beach.

Medlands Beach, Great Barrier Island (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(3) Enhance native vegetation

Protect, restore and enhance native vegetation and habitats:

  • Minimise vegetation clearance for new development
  • Exclude stock from existing areas of indigenous vegetation
  • Replant areas using locally-sourced genetic stock where appropriate
  • Develop an ongoing management plan which includes weed and pest control
  • Include opportunities for wetland management and creation

Undesirable example: Algies Bay, Mahurangi Peninsula, Auckland

A lack of native vegetation along the coastal edge significantly reduces natural character and fails to buffer the surrounding environment from the buildings.

Mahurangi harbour (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Papamoa East, Tauranga

By restoring native vegetation on the dunes infront of these houses the natural character of the coast is being enhanced.

Papamoa Dune Restoration (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

(4) Maintain natural processes

Prevent changes to the natural patterns and movements of rivers, waves, tides, wind and rain as well as land, freshwater and marine plants and animals:

  • Design and locate infrastructure (such as causeways, roads, boat ramps and seawalls) to minimise disruption to natural processes
  • Rehabilitate natural systems such as streams, wetlands, intertidal areas and dunes
  • Prevent contaminated runoff and sediment flowing into freshwater or marine areas
  • Protect the movement and supply of sediment to beaches
  • Avoid hard stabilisation structures along the coast

Undesirable example: Waihi Beach, Hauraki District

This seawall disrupts the natural processes of the coastline, impacting on the natural movement of sediment and tides.

Waihi Beach Seawall (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Desirable example: Pauanui Beach, Thames-Coromandel District

These houses and associated infrastructure have been set well back from the beach reducing the interruption to natural processes.

Pauanui Beach (Credit: Raewyn Peart)

Last updated at 2:14PM on February 25, 2015