The family of a Hawke's Bay man who built a wall on a beach to try to stop his homes being ravaged by the sea are slowly selling off pieces of his estate.

In what will likely be one of NZ's cheapest waterfront sales in the past 10 years, the sale of 21 Clifton Rd, Haumoana, is set to be finalised within the coming days.

The late John Bridgeman owned 19 Clifton Rd and another eight homes on the stretch, which are now slowly being sold off by his children. Among them is 21 Clifton Rd.

Bridgeman, 79, died at 19 Clifton Rd early last year.

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John Bridgeman built a wall in 2002 to protect his home and wanted to extend it to help protect other houses. Photo / Paul Taylor
John Bridgeman built a wall in 2002 to protect his home and wanted to extend it to help protect other houses. Photo / Paul Taylor

Shirley Coker says she won't leave 19 Clifton Rd, the house that Bridgeman was particularly determined to see survive the almost inevitable storm surge heading its way.

"This is definitely my home to stay so I won't be going anywhere," Coker said.

With erosion and the threat of rising sea levels, house values on the stretch of land that Bridgeman owned much of have plummeted.

The property at 25 Clifton Rd sold in late November last year for $135,000, $25,000 less than what it was bought for in 1997.

19 Clifton Rd was John Bridgeman's home, and he engineered it to survive storm surge. Photo / Peak Video
19 Clifton Rd was John Bridgeman's home, and he engineered it to survive storm surge. Photo / Peak Video

QV values 21 Clifton Rd at $121,000, nearly $240,000 less than its valuation in 2007.

Coker said Bridgeman had a vision to extend his own wall, which he built in 2002, and construct it to protect the rest of the properties along the erosion-ridden coastline that Clifton Rd runs down.

"There's a saying that people in Haumoana call our house the 'Bridgeman Peninsula' and when the sea eventually claims the rest of the houses this will be the only one standing.

Rising sea levels put most of Clifton Rd's beachfront properties at risk.
Rising sea levels put most of Clifton Rd's beachfront properties at risk.

"John had an idea to save all the houses along the Clifton Rd beachfront by building a wall right along the beach," Coker said.

"He was even going to pay for the wall himself using his own concrete company [Bridgeman Concrete], but now that he's gone it probably won't happen now."

The Clifton Rd beachfront properties in Haumoana are something of an anomaly.

The rest of the Haumoana market has been performing extremely well and shows no sign of stopping.

QV reports show the average house price in Haumoana sits at $559,800, which is increasing at an annual rate of 8 per cent.

On the same day 25 Clifton Rd was sold, 144 Beach Rd on the other side of the road sold for $725,000 nearly $200,000 over its reserve.

Coker said Bridgeman believed more could have been done by council to prevent the problem they are facing now.

"He tried to get the council to help but they didn't really want a bar of it, they wanted us to do what they called a 'managed retreat' where we would just all get up and leave," Coker said.

The Hawke's Bay Regional Council said a Hawke's Bay Coastal Hazards Strategy had been developed by local councils, iwi and the community for the region.

It looked at how to address the growing effects of climate change over the next 100 years and includes considering coastal hazard initiatives such as sea walls, groynes and beach renourishment.

Chairman of local pressure group WOW (Walking on Water) Keith Newman said it had been working with council on the issue but felt immediate action was needed.

"The houses in the northern end of Clifton Rd are the most at risk and if no immediate action is taken by council then the only place that will be left standing will be John's house," Newman said.