Friday, August 14, 2009

A book to make us think:
A Call to Action: Save the New Zealand Coast

Castles in the Sand
What’s happening to the New Zealand coast? By Raewyn Peart

As well as documenting the natural and cultural history of our coastline, Castles in the Sand examines the tensions between private and public interests, Maori and Pakeha, environmental preservation and development and the responsibilities of central and local government.

As New Zealanders, we love our beaches and coast, which is why we need to act now to protect what in many places is now a very fragile environment,’ says Peart.

Peart also makes a clear case for establishing a New Zealand coastal commission, to govern the management of our coast and to ensure the national public interest is served.
Now is the time to review the state of our country’s coastline,’ she says . ‘For a long time now, we’ve been putting this in the “too hard” basket. In the 1970s there was a big debate on whether we should establish some sort of commission, and while this idea received widespread support from a number of organisations, including the old Ministry of Works and the Institute of Surveyors, it has not been implemented.’
In the decades since then, more and more houses have been built on the coastline, filling beachfronts and encroaching on New Zealand’s wild and natural environment.

A coastal commission could develop a plan that would guide national and local-level decision-making and preserve our accessible and undeveloped coastline,’ advises Peart, who is a Senior Policy Analyst for the Environmental Defence Society and also operates an environmental law and policy consultancy business.
Peart believes we can learn a lot from other countries, where governments protect the public interest by managing the development on their coasts. There are also lessons to be learned from some of the inspirational projects already underway in this country, where the ecological systems have been restored and the natural environments are actively managed with care and planning.
The book is wonderfully researched with meticulous endnotes, references and a comprehensive index, it is well written in an accessible style, and is profusely illustrated with colour and black & white photographs, and cartoons.
If you care about our coastline do not miss this book.

About the author
Raewyn Peart is a qualified lawyer with over 15 years experience in environmental law and policy. For the last eight years ago, Peart has specialised in economic and environmental policy analysis and has published articles and papers on resource, landscape and coastal management, and other environmental issues.

Castles in the Sand: What’s happening to the NewZealand Coast? by Raewyn Peart is published by Craig Potton Publishing and will be launched mid-August 2009
RRP NZ$49.99
276 pp, paperback, with colour and b/w photographs throughout
ISBN: 978 1 877517 00 60

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