Emergency works to reclaim the Hokitika spit, which is rapidly being eroded by the sea, are set to start this week.

Westland Mayor Bruce Smith said yesterday there was now just 26m between where the Tasman Sea was cutting into the spit and the Hokitika River.

Four metres of ground had been lost in the past three days.

Contractors with suitable equipment were being organised to immediately carry out repairs, including removing rock from the end of the point to build up the area by at least 1m.

The work is expected to be completed by Christmas and is estimated to cost about $200,000.

Smith said recovering the rock meant the work could be done more economically.

The Lions Club had also come on board to help beautify the area and reinstate items such as tables and seating by next month.

The action arose from the first meeting of the new Westland District Council on Monday.

Saving the Hokitika spit was one of 17 items on the agenda for direction.

- Hokitika Guardian