Technical ReportPDF Available

Recreational activities on earthquake-affected beaches in Marlborough

Authors:

Abstract

Summary results from an online survey of public perceptions
Recreational activities on earthquake-affected
beaches in Marlborough
Summary results from an online survey of public perceptions
RECOVER Reef Ecology and Coastal Values Earthquake Recovery Project
Marine Ecology Research Group
University of Canterbury
December 2020
KEY FINDINGS
At least 20 diverse recreational activities are valued by the public on beaches in the earthquake-
affected area. Some are incompatible with others leading to potential conflicts between interest
groups. Many survey respondents reported a lengthy association with the area indicative of a depth
of local knowledge and involvement with recreational activities and the wider environment of the
coast. Although important locations are scattered throughout the study area, there is some evidence
for heightened interest around commonly-used access points for activities such as physical exercise
and fishing.
Positive aspects of recreational activities in the area include benefits associated with being in a wild
and natural environment, wildlife encounters, other mental or physical health benefits, fishing &
food harvesting benefits, and valued family time. A diverse set of negative aspects were identified
several of which are contradictory to others and involve topics such as vehicle use, fishing pressure,
and aversion to particular activities. This highlights a need for conflict resolution in finding workable
solutions.
Although a wide range of suggested interventions were identified in survey responses, several of
these are largely incompatible with others in keeping with the wide divergence of views on positive
and negative aspects. Despite this, several classes of ideas may be identified which either seek, or
make suggestions for arrangements that could address diverse values and preferences in compatible
ways. They include improving the knowledge of human impacts on the coast, and two different
though complementary spatial planning approaches involving the establishment of designated routes
and / or exclusion zones to reduce impacts by design. Considerations along these lines could also
potentially encompass more specific suggestions involving preferential access modes, or the need for
improvement of recreational access arrangements at specific sites.
PREPARED BY
Dr. Shane Orchard
Marine Ecology Research Group
College of Science | Te Rangai Putaio
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
Summary of results
SURVEY DESIGN
This survey was established by the University of Canterbury (UC) to assist the Marlborough
community in recording and understanding the level and types of recreational beach uses that are
occurring at present on the earthquake-affected coast. The questions were designed to capture a
comprehensive view of recreational activities and interests and allowed for any activity, view or
perspective to be recorded. All responses were anonymous and no identifying information was
collected. The survey used an online format open to all interested people 18+ years of age (for
informed consent reasons) over a two month period (October November 2020). The geographic
focus of the survey was the coastline between Marfells Beach and the Waima / Ure River which is the
area under currently under consideration by Marlborough District Council for development of a new
bylaw. However, the design of the survey questions also allowed respondents to record information
pertaining to any other area.
WHO REPLIED?
There were a total of 208 unique responses representing a broad range of age groups. The majority
of respondents identified themselves as ‘non-commercial participants’ in recreational activities and
the gender split was 64% male and 36% female. Approximately half of respondents have had a 30 +
year association with this part of the coast indicating a depth of local knowledge and involvement.
0% 5% 10% 15% 20%
91100
8190
7180
6170
5160
4150
3140
2130
1120
110
Association with the coast (years)
94%
4%
2%
Commercial
participant (e.g.
tourism industry)
Not a direct
participant in
recreational activities
but are affected by
them
0% 10% 20% 30% 40%
65+
55-64
45-54
35-44
25-34
18-24
Age group
Male
64%
Female
36%
WHO IS DOING WHAT?
The beaches in this area are used for a surprisingly wide range of recreational activities. The most
popular activities in terms of participant numbers were walking followed by sightseeing and
photography, wildlife viewing and recreational fishing. In addition to the nine categories shown
below other activities recorded by respondents in the ‘other’ category included landsailing,
paragliding, shell collecting, rock collecting, outdoor painting, botanising, karengo harvesting,
customary fishing activities, commercial fishing activities, voluntary habitat restoration work and
mahinga kai. Other activities noted that generally fall within the nine major categories include
boating, surfing, motorbike riding, quad bike riding and coastal bird surveys.
IMPORTANT LOCATIONS
In general, the survey results indicated that the entire coastal area is important for some activities at
various times. However, a set of survey questions asked participants for information on the locations
most important to them, and this provides an indication of the intensity of interest and/or use of
various sections of coast. Results for 11 prominent areas that were specifically mentioned along with
‘all of the coast’ are shown below.
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Other
Walking
Cycling
Horse riding
Off road vehicle use
Watersports
Recreational fishing
Shellfish gathering
Wildlife viewing
Sightseeing / photography
Percentage of respondents (n = 208)
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
All of the coast
Marfells Campground
Marfells Beach
Mussel Point
Cape Campbell
Canterbury Gully
Long Point
Chancett Rocks
Ward Beach
Needles Point
Waima / Ure
Wharanui
Number of responses
POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE ASPECTS
Recreational activities can have both positive and negative aspects. Knowledge of each can be useful for
the design of solutions that help retain the positive benefits and eliminate or reduce the negative. There
were 397 responses on positive aspects, and 403 on negative aspects.
Positive aspects
The graph below shows the positive aspects classified according to 10 distinct themes that emerged from
the data. Opportunities for wildlife encounters were separated from other benefits associated with being
in a wild and natural environment, which was the theme most often identified as a benefit of recreation
activities in the study area. Mental or physical health benefits, fishing / harvesting benefits and family
time were also prominent positive aspects associated with recreation in the area.
Negative aspects
There were a wide range of views on negative aspects which are summarised below according to 16
themes and an additional ‘no negative aspects’ category. Several themes can be identified as being
largely contradictory to others, indicating that negative aspects for one user group are seen as positives
for others. Examples include the potential for restrictions on vehicles versus their perceived negative
impacts, fears around reduced access for fishing versus concerns for overharvest, and direct aversion to
some user groups or activities. This highlights a need for conflict resolution in finding workable solutions
for managing recreational use. A lack of adequate information on the nature of impacts was identified as
a negative aspect of the current situation despite its potential usefulness in the design of solutions.
0 25 50 75 100 125 150 175 200
Tourism
Photography
Camping opportunities
4WD opportunities
Access for less mobile people
Engaging with wildlife
Enaging with environment
Family time
Fishing & diving
Heath benefits / exercise
Number of responses
0 20 40 60 80 100
No negative aspects or over-stated
Perceived capture by other interests
Other perceived conflicts or dislike of conflict
Current arrangements not adequately informed by science
Damage to private land
Overcrowding issues
Increased rubbish / human waste
Increased fire danger
Weed invasion
Aversion to dogs
Aversion to horses
Overharvest of seafood
Potential for restrictions or barriers to fishing
Irresponsible users
Impacts of vehicles on other users
Impacts of vehicles on environment
Potential for restrictions on vehicles
Number of responses
COASTAL MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS
Across all locations around 60% of people wanted to see a change in beach management
arrangements while 40% of people were in favour of retaining the status quo.
A total of 221 suggested interventions were identified in survey responses. The graph below shows a
classification according to 15 management themes. In keeping with the information on positive and
negative aspects, several classes of management interventions are largely incompatible with others,
particularly those involving access for motorised vehicles. However, several classes of ideas may be
identified which either seek, or make suggestions for arrangements that could address diverse values
and preferences in compatible ways. They include improving the knowledge of human impacts on
the coast, and two different though complementary spatial planning approaches that involve the
establishment of designated routes and / or exclusion zones to reduce impacts by design.
Considerations along these lines could also potentially encompass some of the other suggested
interventions, such as those involving prioritising preferred access modes, or the need for
maintenance or improvement of access for valued recreational activities at specific sites.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
A huge thank you to all survey participants for volunteering your time and sharing your knowledge
and perspectives on these important issues for management of the Marlborough coast.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE
RECOVER
TEAM AT THE MARINE ECOLOGY RESEARCH GROUP
Marine Ecology Research Group
College of Science | Te Rangai Putaio
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha
www.merg.nz
0 20 40 60 80
Marfells campground improvements
Improve access arrangements at specific sites
Improve signage and awareness-raising measures
Improved knowledge of human impacts on the coast
Better integration of management arrangements to reduce conflicts
Introduce greater focus on wildlife impacts
Prioritise low impact activities over high impact
Ensure access for fishing / boating related activities
Introduce registered users system for vehicles
Introduce no-vehicle zones in sensitive areas
Establish a designated route for vehicles
Introduce speed limits
Introduce a ban on vehicles
Allow quad bikes as only permitted vehicles
Allow access for all vehicles
Number of responses
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report contributes to a collaborative project between the Marlborough District Council (MDC) and University of Canterbury (UC) which aims to help protect and promote the recovery of native dune systems on the Marlborough coast. It is centred around the mapping of dune vegetation and identification of dune protection zones for old-growth seed sources of the native sand-binders spinifex (Spinifex sericeus) and pīngao (Ficinia spiralis). Both are key habitat-formers associated with nationally threatened dune ecosystems, and pīngao is an important weaving resource and Ngāi Tahu taonga species. The primary goal is to protect existing seed sources that are vital for natural regeneration following major disturbances such as the earthquake event. Several additional protection zones are also identified for areas where new dunes are successfully regenerating, including areas being actively restored in the Beach Aid project that is assisting new native dunes to become established where there is available space.
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