Taranaki Regional Council protects Surfbreaks. On February 24th 2009 the Taranaki Regional Council voted to formalise the 2009 Taranaki Regional Plan which gives protection to 83 surfbreaks from “Inappropriate development”, as well as protecting the water quality of surfbreaks and initiating procedures to maintain and enhance “low-impact” public access to the breaks.
In 2006 the TRC began their ten-year review of the the Taranaki Regional Plan. In the original version it’s noted that a number of beaches were recognised as areas of coastal significance due to their amenity values, the presence of significant flora and fauna, and cultural values. However, there was no special protection nor recognition of surfbreaks in particular.
Three societies (New Plymouth Surf Riders Club, Surfing Taranaki and Surfbreak Protection] under the co-ordination of Allen Pidwell, submitted that under the existing New Zealand Coastal Protection Statement  there existed sufficient provision to recognise surfbreaks as virtually irreplaceable natural features that provided both nationally and regionally significant environmental, economic and recreational value. The TRC accepted our agreements and except for one objection from Federated Farmers who wanted surfbreaks defined, there was little argument.
The new Taranaki Regional Plan notes;
S7.1 para 2 “Natural features of Taranaki’s coastal environment that contribute to its natural coastal processes, marine life and eco-systems, coastal landscapes and seascapes, SURFBREAKS …..also contribute to the natural character of the coastline”.
S 7.1 Policy 3 “Areas of outstanding value within the coastal environment will be indentified and priority given to the protection of the natural character, ecological or amenity values of such areas from inappropriate development”.
Appendix 11 “Taranaki is recognised both nationally and internationally for its surfbreaks. Surfbreaks depend on the presence of a combination of suitable seabed shape, swell direction and power, swell corridors that allow swells to arrive at the Surfbreak and wind direction and force. High quality value surfbreaks in Taranaki attract surfers from throughout New Zealand and overseas as well as locals. High quality or high value surfbreaks of regional importance are listed at the end of this appendix. The list is based on the Council’s inventory of Coastal Areas of Local or Regional Significance in the Taranaki Region (2004), the New Zealand Surfing Guide (2004) published by Wavetrack, and consultation with local surfers”.
S 7.2 para 4 ” Maintaining excellent coastal water quality ……including the use and enjoyment of surfbreaks ….”. S7.3 para 4 “in some cases it will be appropriate to promote and enhance the public use and enjoyment of the coast ….such as Taranaki’s valued surfbreaks…. ‘.
At a time when much of our coastline and surfbreaks are threatened by development it is a landmark decision by the Taranaki Regional Council to take this unique forward-looking decision to protect surfbreaks. the TRC is applauded and congratulated for their support of surfing.