NEWS: South Wairarapa Campsites – an update

21 October 2021

South Wairarapa District Council has determined that two campsites on the Tora coastline are at risk of flash flooding and should be closed to overnight campers. This is to protect the public from possible serious injury or loss of life in the case of a serious weather event.  

The Martinborough Community Board has offered up an interim solution to manage any risks to campers over Labour weekend. However, the risk from flooding and campsite inundation remains, and this short-term solution is only possible due to the favourable weather forecast for the three days over Labour weekend.

The Council has assessed the interim solution and considers it is fit-for-purpose as a temporary solution for the Labour weekend.

This decision was made by the Chief Executive, Harry Wilson, as the responsible officer under the Health and Safety At Work Act 2015 (the Act).

The two campgrounds, Te Awaiti and North Tora, both have a one in 100-year risk of flash flooding. Harry Wilson said that under the Act, Council has a primary duty of care to ensure the health and safety of people is not put at risk and that he is required to eliminate the risk to health and safety as his principle obligation.

The reasons this issue is being addressed now, and not in earlier years, is that we now have better scientific information and real evidence of climate change and its impact on coastal communities.

Following Labour weekend, Council will consider the ability to eliminate the risk through an enduring and practical flood warning solution to the potential flooding of these two campsites during adverse weather conditions, and will work with the community board on exploring options.

The campgrounds will remain open while Council works through options, subject to weather conditions.  If a workable solution is unable to be found over the next few weeks, Te Awaiti and North Tora campsites will be closed to overnight camping.

The public will continue to have access to both campgrounds for non-camping purposes and the Council will continue its search for an alternative overnight camping area.


Media contact:

Sheil Priest
General Manager Communications & Engagement
South Wairarapa District Council
Mob: 027 252 2863         

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