A natural hazard is defined as an environmental event that happens independently of human influence, often with adverse consequences for people and their communities. Council needs to manage the impacts of natural hazards, and minimise any damage they may cause to people and property in hazardous areas, and their effect on our environment. Many of the effects of existing and predicted natural hazards are made worse by the location of human settlement. Communities have in the past been built on flood plains, river terraces and dune systems that have been created by natural processes such as floods, seismic activity, coastal processes and changes in sea-level.The main natural hazards that are recognised in the Kaipara District are:
Many of these identified hazards are affected to a greater or lesser extent by the added dynamic of climate change. For example, hazard management strategies will need to consider the probable consequences of sea-level rise on coastal communities and the prospect of more frequent and greater intensity storm events and the implications for communities living in close proximity to rivers and streams. Of course, the adverse impacts will affect more than just the immediate relative few and, cumulatively, will have repercussions extending throughout the district, and beyond, at both the regional and national scales.
The adverse effects of natural hazards have the potential to cause both short term disruptions to communities and threaten their long term viability.