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Cape Kidnappers access on track for Labour Weekend

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The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Hastings District Council (HDC) say visitor risk management work at Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauae-a-Māui should be completed by Labour Weekend, which would allow people to access the DOC track.

A high level of risk associated with walking along the Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauae-a-Māui beach was identified in the recent Quantitative Risk Assessment report (QRA). Following receipt of this, DOC and HDC identified key risk management work to complete before the track at the end of the seven-kilometre beach can be accessed.

The final step is installing signage with updated hazard and risk information at both ends of the beach, which is on track to be in place by Labour Weekend.

“We now know the risks associated with travelling along the beach are higher than many people expect from a typical beach, and it’s important people can make informed decisions about whether or not they’re willing to face that risk,” says DOC Hawke’s Bay Operations Manager Jenny Nelson-Smith.

The geology of Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauae-a-Māui means the landslides cannot be stopped or even precisely predicted. Given the unpredictability of landslides, the scale and speed at which they can happen, and the narrowness of the beach, safely escaping from a large landslide would be unlikely.

“The risks from the natural hazards cannot be mitigated but we can provide people information about those hazards. The updated signs will have clear and specific information about this, and how people can reduce their exposure to risk if they do choose to undertake the walk.”

Hastings District Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says she is pleased the DOC section of the walking route will be accessible in time for the long weekend.

“We appreciate the public’s patience as we’ve worked to get this right for people wanting to visit this part of our coastline.”

DOC is also talking with community representatives about the facilities at the end of the beach. The existing toilet is old and needs replacement, and planning is underway to determine the sustainable placement of facilities. Access to the track is not dependant on these upgrades.

DOC and HDC will not actively promote the walk along the beach.


An announcement about the track will be made prior to Labour Weekend.

2 October 2020

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