NZ Herald Local Focus logo

Watch NZH Local Focus: Super Moon King Tides batter Firth of Thames

By Hunter Calder

Firth of Thames residents are keeping an eye on the shoreline this week as the brightest super moon in 68 years brings higher than usual tides to the small settlements on the coast.

And, if the bad weather continues, surface flooding is possible.

For "The Pink Shop" owner, Lynn Yeager, it's a thought in the back of her mind, with the shop known for flooding "when the tide comes in and gets stuck in the creek".

While she says she's not overly concerned, she's worried the highest king tide on Thursday could mean she is more at risk.

But, it's a reality Ms Yeager and the rest of the locals are used to in Kaiaua.

George Paki lives further up the road. His house is 150 metres from the high-tide mark and for fifty years. The sea has only ever encroached on the property once.

He says there's only really a risk when the high tide is pushed in by the prevailing nor-westerly wind.

"If it was really blowing a great rate of knots there's a possibility that it could come over [the bank], but it's a very, very rare occurrence," he said.

Daniel Ratahi lives near a section of road beside Kaiaua School which is frequently thrashed by the tide.

He said there used to be a carpark next to the water, but the tide has eaten away as far as the road's edge.

He said the council had put rocks and sandbags in place but a long-term-solution was needed urgently because the water just "bounces" of them and has gouged out some of the bay and roadside.

"I'm concerned the roads going to give way and (worry about) the safety of people passing through," he said.

Hauraki District Council Engineering Services Manager, Adrian De Laborde said the coastline is a high priority and consultation was underway to have the problem remedied by June 2017.

Talks between the District Council and the Waikato Regional Council (WRC) have begun.

WRC's Hazard Manager, Rick Liefting, said they're mapping how high the tides could get in the future.

"There is a possibility that climate change will induce sea level rise, and as sea level rises the low lying areas will become inundated," he said.

Waikato Regional Council is asking locals to take photos of high tides in the region - and submit them online - so they can map potential coastal hazards.

The public can also use an online mapping tool.

But, it's not just infrastructure that's at risk.

Mangroves around the Firth of Thames are home to thousands of shorebirds.

Pukorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centres Manager Keith Woodley said the birds need the food resources from the shoreline to prepare them for migrating across the world.

"There's a whole heap of birds that will be affected if the sea level rises where there are mudflats," he said.

"As the sea-level rises there will be less mudflat available for birds to forage in. That will be a major thing... so their foraging habitat will gradually decrease," he said.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 28 May 2017 18:33:15 Processing Time: 731ms