Why is the coast so special?

The coast is where New Zealand was first settled by both Māori and Pākehā. Because of this historical settlement pattern, by far the majority of known archaeological sites are located on the coast, as are many areas of historic and cultural importance.

Most New Zealanders still prefer to live on the coast and it is the location of many of the country’s largest urban areas. It also supports much economic activity, with some sectors such as ports and marinas, being dependant on a coastal location.

New Zealanders and visitors to this country highly value the wild and dramatic landscapes which have been formed along the coastline, unobstructed views of the sea, and the ability to access and enjoy beaches and the marine area. The coast plays an important role in the country’s quality of life.

The coast provides a unique range of important habitats, including coastal forests, estuaries, dunes and wetlands. These support a huge diversity of indigenous fauna and flora including international migratory wading birds and native spiders.

The coast is extraordinarily important in terms of New Zealand’s historical, cultural and natural heritage, quality of life and economy. It is the high value that people place on the coast, and the ability to live, work and play there, which is driving the growing pressure for coastal development. The increasing levels of human activity, are threatening the very special values of the coast that attracted people there in the first place.

Last updated at 2:12PM on February 25, 2015