What do petrol heads, surfers, and dog owners have in common? They all enjoy our favourite public playground - the beach.
Coastal scientist Jim Dahm has been hosting public discussions to find out how Whanganui residents connect with the coast, and to develop a coastal action plan alongside Whanganui district council.
"The council wants to provide a prioritised list of actions that they're going to undertake over the next 10 years at coastal sites, particularly focused at Castlecliff and Kai Iwi," he said.
"We're trying to understand how people use these areas, what they value, what they're concerned about and what they would like to see happen in the future."
Modifying nature to suit human activity could be environmentally harmful but Dahm said, with collective wisdom, a way could be found to harmonise with nature.
"We're moving more to understand namely how a natural environment works and trying to live with the coast. That's sort of the buzz phrase - working with nature.
"In the past we've tried far too much to accommodate nature to our aspirations.
"It's very much about learning to live with the coast and that's a collective exercise,
"You need the collective wisdom and multiple perspectives to achieve that."
Dahm has 30 years of experience in coastal management and said community partnerships were the only way to solve complex issues.
"No matter how much a particular expert an officer might know, you're only seeing the problem from a limited perspective.
"The more feedback you get, the more involvement, the more participation you get, the more ideas get tested, the more creative the solutions.
"It's just so much stronger, you get so much better outcomes and it's so much more sustainable. And you make real progress faster."
When Dahm talks about involving the community, he means everyone.
"Left wing, right wing, up wing, down wing - couldn't care less.
"I think at the end of the day, if you deal with the basic facts of how a coast is operating, and what you love and what you enjoy about this, you get down to a lot of commonality.
"I've worked with coastal restoration for 30 years. I've worked with extremely conservative people, extremely liberal.
"And frankly, I've never had political philosophies get in the way of a good outcome.
"We're looking to hear from people: what they love, what they enjoy, what they are concerned about, what they want to see, the outcomes."
You don't need to be a scientist to help shape the future of our coastline.
The coastal action survey is still open and can be found on the Whanganui District Council website.
Submissions close July 15.