• Lis Richardson

What does New Zealand and Maui have in common?

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

Quite a bit actually. Besides the fact that we are both islands in the Pacific, we share high tides and storm erosion on our miles of low-lying coastal areas. The NZ governing council has realized the critical need for beach and dune management with a plan they call their Foreshore Asset Management Plan. Maui needs something similar. We manage our roads and our bridges. We manage our parks and even our sea birds. Why isn't there an island-wide effort to also come up with a plan to manage our beaches and dunes just like we would any other valuable asset?

Our dune restoration efforts in South Maui are valuable because they play into the waiting hands of Mother Nature. The most important result is that the size and health of our sand dunes increase as the dunes become more resilient.

The small dune area in South Maui that is under dune management needs to blend with the other dune restoration efforts on Maui and become part of an island-wide effort. As Tara Owens of UH Sea Grant has told us, when we allow one area to bypass management it ultimately impacts the whole island.

Maui needs a comprehensive management plan for our island’s dunes and beaches that is based on settled science. That science is already available on Maui from the coastal geologists at UH Sea Grant. As a community, let’s manage our valuable dune assets island-wide and let’s all realize how dependent we are on our beaches and dunes.

Published in the Maui News on November 20, 2018