Natural Hazards


​​​​​​​​Natural Hazards Review

Natural hazard maps are being updated

Opotiki District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council are updating the natural hazard maps for the District.

This includes a review of the current maps we already have in the District Plan for flooding, (from extreme rainfall), coastal inundation (flooding from the sea), coastal erosion and land instability.  It will also involve mapping other natural hazards such as tsunami, liquefaction, active faults and volcanic hazards.

These maps will show the extent of the land expected to be covered by each natural hazard event and will provide information about the likelihood of future events.

Mapping purpose

This information will help people make informed decisions about undertaking building works, buying property or preparing for a natural disaster.  As each hazard map is completed, landowners will be notified and the information will be made available on this website.  It will also be included on property files and in any land information memoranda (LIMS)​ requested for properties.

Once available, the hazard maps will also be used by Council staff when processing resource consents​, project information memoranda and building consents to ensure that the risk from natural hazards to people and buildings is assessed.

Available hazard maps and reports

Tonkin and Taylor Report - Opotiki Coastal Erosion Hazard Assessment - Stage 1 Waiotahe Feb 2020​ (PDF, 12MB)

Frequently asked questions

Why are the council doing this work?

Natural hazards can be a significant risk to people's lives and wellbeing as well as to buildings and infrastructure.  The Resource Management Act (RMA) has recently been amended to require councils to manage significant risks from natural hazards as a matter of national importance.  The Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement (RPS) has also been changed to set out the way in which natural hazards are to be mapped and how risks are to be identified and managed.  Council must now follow the national and regional direction given.​

Why does it have to be done now?

It is important to identify land susceptible to natural hazards so that we are aware of the risks involved and can plan to reduce those risks.  Events such as the Christchurch earthquakes and Edgecumbe flood have highlighted the need to take natural hazard risk more seriously.  Councils also need to respond to new requirements in legislation within a certain time.

What should I do in the event of a natural disaster?

If a disaster happened now would you be ready?  Natural hazards have the potential to cause disruption, property damage and take lives, so it is vital that you prepare now.  Visit the to learn how to get ready, so you'll get through.

You can also stay up to date with the latest local Civil Defence and Emergency Management alerts and news at

Did Council recently identify natural hazards in my area?  Why do it again?

Council has to keep natural hazard information up to date.  We are mindful of not going back to the same communities with similar reviews too soon; however we need to review all hazards across the District because our current information is not sufficient to meet the new requirements.

When will the mapping process be complete?

We don't know exactly when the process of identifying all natural hazards will be complete but it may take about five years.

Are these natural hazards affected by climate change?

Yes, many natural hazards will be influenced by the effects of climate change such as sea level rise the increasing intensity of rain fall.  Examples of hazards affected by climate change include flooding, (from extreme rainfall,) coastal inundation (flooding from the sea), coastal erosion, tsunami and liquefaction.​

Can we trust the science behind the identification of natural hazards?

As with any future projections, there are always going to be uncertainties.  However, to ensure we get things as accurate as possible, all natural hazard maps will be based on the latest scientific knowledge and best practice.  Regional and national guidance is also provided through the requirements of the Regional Policy Statement, (RPS) and New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS).  Also, when completing the mapping, the councils work with experts who can demonstrate an ability to achieve these requirements.

What is meant by a risk assessment?

For an explanation of the risk assessment process, please visit the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's natural hazards webpage.

Why is a District Plan Change necessary?

The District Plan will need to be changed to meet the requirements of the Resource Manage Act (RMA)​ and Bay of Plenty Regional Police statement (RPS).  Updating the District Plan will show landowners and developers what areas are subject to natural hazards and what restrictions apply within them.

Can I still build on land identified with natural hazards?

Yes, but there are some restrictions.  For example; in floodable areas and coastal inundation areas minimum floor levels are required for dwellings and other habitable buildings; within coastal erosion areas only one dwelling can be built per title and these must be designed to be relocatable; and in land stability areas a geotechnical report is required to ensure buildings are established on solid foundations.

I'm currently building or have just finished building on a property not identified with a natural hazard – what will it mean for me if a hazard is identified later?

If you are currently building and have the necessary consents all you need to do is ensure you complete the building works in accordance with those consents and their timeframes.

However if the project is not completed in time and you need to re-apply consents you will be required to address any newly identified natural hazards.  If you have finished building in accordance with the necessary consents and their timeframes, the identification of a natural hazard won't affect the building works.

Note: If you have not commenced building yet but have the necessary consents, you can continue with your project as per consents but may want to consider taking in to account any updated natural hazard information.

What is Land Information Memorandum?

A Land Information Memorandum (LIM) is a report that provides an applicant with information about what Council knows about a property that may affect it.  For both sellers and buyers, a LIM may answer some important questions about the land or any buildings that are on the property.  Council is required by the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 to make LIM information available to any interested party.  This includes any information that Council may hold in relation to natural hazards.

Will the identification of natural hazards affect my property value or insurance?

Council is responsible for making sure that any information we have about your property is easily available upon request.  We recommend you seek advice from a property valuation or insurance expert about any concerns you may have regarding property values or insurance.

How is Council going to keep landowners informed of what's going on?

Council plans to communicate natural hazard information in a range of ways:

  • Letters to landowners
  • Website updates
  • Property files
  • Land Information Memorandum (LIMs)
  • Opportunities to email, phone or meet with Council staff.

Got a different question or want more information? 

You can visit the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's natural hazards webpage.  This contains more explanation about the new approach to identifying natural hazards and the risk assessment process.  It also contains a list of natural hazards projects being undertaken by the Regional Council throughout the Region and expected time frames.

The Bay of Plenty Emergency Management website. Includes full details on Natural Hazards and how you can prepare for an emergency.

Our Building on Land Subject to Natural Hazards page on this website.

You can contact Council on 07 3153030 to speak with our Planning and Regulatory Manager or email​

Page reviewed: 18 Feb 2020 2:53pm