Island Bay Seawall

The huge swells generated by the severe southerly storm that lashed Wellington in June 2013 caused widespread damage along the south coast. This included the collapse of large section of the 350-metre seawall in Island Bay, opposite Shorland Park.

Island Bay seawall damage after June 2013 storm.

Some of the storm damage to the Island Bay seawall

After the June 2013 storm the Council placed a temporary rock barrier in the broken section of the seawall to protect the footpath and road, and commissioned Tonkin & Taylor to undertake a high level assessment of coastal processes operating within Island Bay. They have evaluated likely future shoreline evolution and effects on the existing infrastructure, and assessed potential future management options to improve long-term resilience. 

Based on the report, the Mayor and Councillors on the Environment Committee asked Council officers to look at the feasibility of the options, create more detailed designs, and undertake to consult with the community to understand their views.

Read the report:


The Council consulted the community on these five concept options:

What’s been decided?

The Council’s Environment Committee considered a report on the Island Bay Seawall project on 16 December and agreed:

  • to repair the Island Bay seawall in a functional manner in the same style as the existing wall
  • to continue to gather more detailed design information to develop the long-term solution (based on options 3 or 4) in consultation with the community
  • to implement the long- term solution (based on option 3 or 4) by 2018-2021 (subject to the availability of funding through the Long-term Plan)
  • that officers develop a resilience strategy including educational initiatives for the South Coast for managing coastal hazards and report back on progress to the Committee by June 2015
  • that the condition of the eastern part of the Island Bay Seawall will be considered as part of the resilience strategy for the South Coast.

The Environment Committee also agreed that

  • a proposal to trial a temporary road closure will be consulted on as part of the work to determine the long-term solution
  • the future design of Shorland Park, the dog-exercise park and the former surf club building form part of the consultation with the community
  • the history of Tangata Whenua and the Italian community in the area be considered in the design of Shorland Park.

You can access a copy of the paper considered by the Environment Committee and the minutes of the 16 December 2014 meeting. The report contains summary information on the results of the consultation process and information, analysis and advice specific to the project.

What’s happening now?

Council officers will now begin planning work to repair the seawall. The repair work will take place in late 2015. Work to determine the detailed design of a long-term solution, based on options 3 or 4, will begin soon and there will be more opportunities for the community to have their say and provide input into the process.

Background reports

For historical reports, recent traffic counts, early engagement feedback and other background information relating to this project, the seawall, The Esplanade and the surrounding area, see:

Photo gallery

Check out the photos of the storm damage and the history of Island Bay waterfront.


More information

Zach Rissel
Programme Manager, Our Living City

Phone (04) 803 8156