A fine and dandy spot we have here on the eastern seaboard.

The weather is generally quite clement, although as has been evidenced rather recently we are vulnerable to weather events from the east and north-east ... for they tend to drag dampness in.

But hey, we need rain as it keeps things green, fills the waterways and refreshes the aquifer so that another few million litres can be gifted to China.

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And the air is always clear and the sea is right there and the gardens are well kept and streets pretty clean.

Traffic ain't too bad and the food from the sea and the land is fresh and fair.

It's a good place for kids to grow up and there are plenty of playing and sporting grounds ... and there's a new pool on the way.

And the Bay has a unique appeal in that it has a sort of splendid isolation, slightly off the beaten tracks, yet is only a few hours from other main centres.

If it's raining here due to a naughty easterly just spend 90 minutes in the car and head for the blue skies of Taupo.

Oh, and we make great wine and beers here.

I've heard many overseas visitors excitedly praise the virtues of the Bay.

The cruise ship throngs thrill to the cleanliness of the landscape and the colourful delights of the seafront Marine Parade.


"You've got a great place here," they tell the locals, who I guess kind of take the comfort of it all for granted.

Yeah, no wars.

No civil disorder.

No tear gas.

Just the occasional drizzling easterly.

So no real issues to mar the landscape ... except for one we can't see.

Yep, there it is ... one big fault line.

This is the price of comfortable environmental fame.

For our fine spot in the sun (let's leave the easterlies alone for now yeah?) lies in the seismic playground of Mother Earth.

A geological foible, I call it.

We've got everything moving along nicely here on the pleasant landscape of the eastern seaboard but unfortunately one of those moving things is the actual eastern seaboard.

Since I was a little chap, in the days my knees worked properly, I have been aware of what was back then called "tidal waves" and in 1960 me and the rest of the kids at Te Awa School all raced up to the beach to see one as a great Chilean 'quake had apparently sparked great surges across the Pacific.

Yep, we all sat on the beach hoping to see some big waves.

Go to high ground?

What for ... you wouldn't have had a decent view of them way back up there.

How times, as well as education, research and preparedness have thankfully changed the way we look upon the seismic uncertainties out there, and under here.

I have long been aware of things called fault lines and moving plates because when you are born and grow up in a city with a pretty robust seismic history you tend to personally experience such things.

But I have to admit that before heading along to a most remarkable, informative and valuable presentation last week steered by East Coast LAB I wasn't all that skilled up on the term "subduction zone".

I had heard about the Hikurangi Trench, which is out there off the Bay, but just figured it was an above average sort of fault line.

Oh it is a fault, but as Dr Kate Clark of GNS Science, and a member of the New Zealand Geoscience Society, explained, it's where the Pacific and Australian plates meet.

One edging under the other.

In one of the zones there is a "slow slip" situation where there is movement, but the big zone down off Wairarapa and Wellington is jammed.

No movement.

But as Dr Clark and her colleagues pointed out, one day, some day, there will be movement and there will be plenty of it because research indicates that some time, way back in time, a seismic monster has awakened and shaken the coastline apart.

It is going to happen again, we know that.

What we don't know is when, but that's what these fine earthwatchers are trying to uncover.

The heartening thing about the presentation was the full house it drew in.

There were about 600 people there, all ears.

And the site was perfect for it overlooked the Bay of mystery.

Also heartening was the clear understanding of the most valuable message of all.

Be prepared.

It's too easy to brush this sort of stuff off as there have not been any major recent reminder notices, so to speak.

But it's like the unsettled recent weather ... have a brollie ready just in case.

Be very aware of what will happen, one day, and what you need to do.

And don't go up the beach for a better look.