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The Orewa Beach Artificial Reef Project: Have your say

Stephen Westwood:

The Orewa Beach Artificial Reef Project: 3 reefs located obliquely to the shore approximately 375m and 700m off the Orewa Beach foreshore.

This is a heads-up about the public submission process starting for The Orewa Beach Reef Project. I'm wanting to bring to your attention the proposed artificial reef planned for Orewa beach and if you are aware of the implications? I appreciate that a lot of you Windsurf/SurfSUP/Kite at Orewa or even live there so should have an interest in this issue (either for - or - against) so you need to get on to the public submission about the reef ASAP:


Public Submission Information:

How to make a submission:

From what I read, the main reason is to improve the Sand Retention and Storm & Erosion Protection which might be fair enough but the other stated aims need to be probed, tested, analysed and carefully considered in light of the performance of other artificial reef projects in NZ and UK that have FAILED at huge rate payers expense and done nothing to improve surfing conditions, tourism, economic development or the environment!

"The reefs are intended to be multi-purpose. Their primary intent is to modify and dissipate incident wave energy resulting in a reduction of erosive alongshore currents and ultimately the formation of a beach front salient. A further intention is to create public amenity and marine habitat."

Why a reef?:

You just need to look at the list of sponsors with an interest in the Orewa artificial reef to see that it is more about 'economic development' than environmental protection or surfing!

Note that the Orewa Beach Reef Trust use the term "Economic" benefit 5 times and "Environmental" only 3 times!

The vital thing is that the users of Orewa beach and the rate payers DO NOT SLEEP-WALK or get rushed into what seems a great idea on paper that is been pushed by a group of 'interested parties/sponsors' without proper due diligence and research - given that no artificial reef project in NZ and UK has worked properly from a surfing or an economic benefit argument and the rate payers left with a huge bill. That leaves the environmental argument of installing an artificial reef pretty weak if there are better/cheaper alternatives to a reef e.g. GROYNES - which are effective at beach preservation i.e. "modify and dissipate incident wave energy resulting in a reduction of erosive alongshore currents."

If you Windsurf then there is a risk of having the reef exposed at low tides which are likely to be hazards!

The danger is that Orewa ends up with an artificial reef fiasco like Bournemouth UK, The Mount and Opunake which makes nobody happy - especially rate payers and board riders!

Please think about it and engage in the public submission process! The key points are:

There must be alternatives explored to an artificial reef for Sand Retention and Storm & Erosion?

There is a risk that the reef will not work and even be a hazard to SUP, Surfers, Kite surfers and Windsurfers given the recent closure of Boscombe, UK!

The reef might be detrimental to the surfing conditions at Orewa given the poor performance and feedback from The Mount and Opunake!

Below are links to press reports of other failed artificial reef projects!


The company behind a proposed surf reef at Orewa has designed other artificial reefs that have been widely criticised:

Mount Maunganui:

Future of artificial reef to be probed.

NZ Artificial Reef A Costly Mistake:

Surf reef branded a dangerous flop:

Concern over Tauranga surf reef:

Artificial reef fails to win surfers' approval:

Tay St reef is a "dead zone":


No sign of completion date for reef:

Surf reef trust left high and dry - Taranaki Daily News:

South Taranaki ratepayers have pumped $1.5 million into a surf reef that still doesn't work:

Opunake surf reef, like Mt Maunganui, Narrowneck and Bournemouth reefs, isn't working:

The row over Opunake's problem-plagued artificial surf reef could be heading for court:

The South Taranaki District Council has written off a $400,000 loan it made to the Opunake Artificial Surf Reef Trust (OASRT) as a non-recoverable debt. Three years later the reef has not been finished, is not working:

Boscombe, UK:

Wave goodbye! Britain's 3.2million pound artificial surf reef closed after only two years as it's unsafe! Read more:

NZ-built UK surf reef criticised:

NZ reef-maker set to default on UK deadline:

For more debate check out:

Deepfried forum:

Surfbreak Protection Society:

25 August 2011 - 375m offshore from Orewa Beach, Hibiscus Coast (closing date: 22 September 2011)
The Auckland Council has received the following application for resource consent:Application to construct an offshore reef system at Orewa Beach, Hibiscus Coast and the subsequent occupation and use of the Coastal Marine Area.

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