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Te Tumu will be a coastal community that cherishes its significant environmental richness.

The proposed development will respect the Kaituna River, wetland and landscape areas and preserve the area’s natural character. Planning will address the natural hazards in the area – making Te Tumu a resilient coastal community.

There is approximately 740ha of land within Te Tumu. Based on our investigations to date, approximately 400ha of land could be developed. The remaining 340ha would be protected to preserve the natural and cultural history of the area, and protect the community from natural hazards.

Over the past 100 plus years, there has been extensive modifications to the landscape mostly brought about by forestry, livestock, cropping, weed control and increased farming production which continues today.  Water holes for stock drinking  have been developed over the years along with improving some of the water holes for creation of wetlands for duck shooting.

Protecting the natural environment

Te Tumu provides a unique setting, bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the north and the Kaituna River to the south and east. The stretch of land along the coastline consists of sand dunes, and the land along the Kaituna River is made up of flat and low-lying wetlands.

To prepare for structure planning of the urban growth area, we undertook investigations to better understand the different elements of the area’s natural environment. We specifically looked at outstanding features and landscapes, character areas and special ecological areas.

The open coast dune system is identified as an outstanding natural feature and important amenity landscape. It’s important to preserve its natural character. Tauranga City Plan rules protect these areas from varying forms of development and modification, however specific recreational activities may occur within these areas.

Outstanding natural features map


Light green: outstanding natural features and landscapes plan area
Dark green: important amenity landscapes area

In 2013 the Bay of Plenty Regional Council completed an assessment of the natural character of the Bay of Plenty coastal environment – designed to map areas with high and outstanding natural character. The assessment identified two locations within Te Tumu as natural character areas: part of the open coastal dune system, and the Kaituna wetland. These areas are specifically provided for within the operative Regional Policy Statement. Council needs to undertake further work to include these areas in the operative City Plan and ensure appropriate protection is in place.

Natural characters map

Special Ecological Areas are habitat areas that contain significant indigenous flora, and play an important role in sustaining our unique native plants and animals. There are two categories of Special Ecological Areas: Category 1 are the best quality or only remaining representative examples of indigenous flora and/or habitat. Category 2 are good quality examples of indigenous flora and/or habitat. Our investigations have found both categories in Te Tumu. They are located along the open coast dune system, along the Wairakei Stream and along the Kaituna River. These areas are recognised in the Tauranga City Plan and are afforded protection from varying forms of development and modification. These areas also have recreational value.

Special ecological areas map


Light yellow: category 1 Special Ecological Area
Dark yellow: category 2 Special Ecological Area

Understanding natural hazards in the area

As a coastal area bounded by a river, Te Tumu is subject to potential natural hazards such as flooding, tsunami and liquefaction. Our planning work will deliver an in-depth understanding of these hazards that will allow us to lessen these risks and deliver a truly resilient coastal community.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has undertaken a series of work programmes since 1983 to understand the potential flooding effects of the Kaituna River. The flood models they developed show the potential for significant inundation of the lower river margins within Te Tumu. In preparation for the structure plan process we are working on further modelling to determine risk areas and acceptable levels of development. We will also consider potential mitigation options as part of this work.

In 2013, we conducted extensive work to assess how far a worst-case scenario tsunami would reach within Te Tumu, and associated safety considerations. The simulations indicate a small part of Te Tumu is likely to be inundated in the event of a credible maximum tsunami. We assessed this based on the current landform and with 2100 sea levels as predicted by the Ministry for the Environment. The modelling shows a major part of the Te Tumu area is not likely to be inundated. In preparation for the structure planning process, we are now undertaking further modelling with different landforms, and a risk assessment. This work will determine safe and unsafe areas, and likely evacuation areas.

Soil liquefaction describes a phenomenon where the soil substantially loses strength and stiffness in response to an applied stress, usually earthquake shaking, causing it to behave like a liquid. Liquefaction can be the source of significant damage after an earthquake. We have completed a high-level liquefaction assessment of the Te Tumu area to inform Council of the current and possible future liquefaction vulnerability. This high-level assessment suggests the land is likely to be suitable for urban development purposes. In preparation for the structure planning process, we are conducting a more detailed liquefaction assessment which involves detailed geotechnical investigations to inform foundation design and reassess liquefaction vulnerability.

Te Tumu strategic planning study - environmental considerations (7.9kb pdf)

Last Reviewed: 09/05/2018

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