Sunday, 4 April 2010


We did a bit of a tiki tour on Saturday to a place called Flatpoint in the Wairarapa It's a stark barren stretch of coast . Flatpoint is a collection of  a hotch potch of both old style bachs and beach mansions. A smallish round house with uninterrupted views to the sea across the little 9 hole golf links is up for grabs - offers over $600k.  A vineyard with an average home and 3 ha is up for grabs at a $1 million.
Its an area known for crayfish and paua in abundance.

But what makes Flatpoint interesting is that the foreshore  - thats the beach , is privately owned and access is apparently jealously guarded as is a considerable stretch of the Wairarapa coast. In fact the discussion document on the Foreshore and Seabed Act makes special mention that these areas will not be part of any changes to the Foresohore and Seabed legislation.

There is essentially only one road into the area which stretches from Flatpoint to Glenburn. Sections with beach views are for sale and they have " exclusive access " to the beach to launch a boat " as part of the title. So sections do not own the access - they just appear to have " exclusive access" across the landowners land - in essence there is no Queens Chain.

It was not a welcoming place. Simply because the access to the beach is not allowed  and everywhere there were " Private Property" Private access only signs.  DOC had two access points and again it was made patently clear that part of that access was across private land. In one track it was made clear that the track did not provide access to the beach -essentially the very very long coastline is privately owned  - lock stock and sifting sand.

Each Section sale includes the following:
  • a right of way secured to title in favour of the purchaser to enable permanent private access to boat launching to the Lot owner and his immediate family and guests, up to ten persons at a passing.
  • a 1/39th share in the community controlling body as required by Resource Consent Condition(Flat Point Beach Ltd). This body will be responsible for Environmental monitoring and transfer of solid waste to landfill. This body is also required to draw new owners attention to the Environmental Care Code and to make its records available to Council annually.
  • a 1/39th share in Lots 40 & 41(plantation reserve) and Lots 43 & 44(pedestrian walkways).

However we found a track to the beach via a river bed and we toddled down to the ice water just to say that we had dipped our toe in the ocean.  
It was an unsettling place simply because it does not feel like the rest of coastal New Zealand. It is not the way we want to see the rest of New Zealand's coast line managed. For some reason we cant quite fathom it actually made us profoundly sad.
We cant remember another place where we have essentially been locked out of a coastline.

We noticed that the access roads  which interestingly are public to a point are obviously maintained by the taxpayer and we would be interested in seeing who paid for both the power and telephone lines as well.

We are keen to see the foreshore and seabed issue sorted out to everyones advantage - we dont really care if there is a title that denotes ownership. However that ownership should be required to ensure public access. We do not want to see more examples of Flatpoint anywhere ever.


pdm said...

Do you know the background and history of the current ownership. Is it title which has been passed on as in Customary title or is it part of a property purchase deal?

It seems to me that such a situation lends it self to trespass.

gravedodger said...

And while this is the reality at Flat Point, people get all exercised about some Maori wanting their day in court.
ps is Maguinnes still the squire there I wonder.

JC said...

Back in the 70s there was a hell of a battle between the Forest Service and illegal bach owners on Haurango Forest Park frontage and possibly Land and Survey land as well.

The bach owners won, but I don't recall whether they were given title, and maybe BB is referring to baches further round.


CW said...

What about the port companies who have been effectively privatising bits of foreshore and seabed for years and were among the most vociferous objectors to Maori having their day in court....

Fantail said...

Yep, this is what we want to avoid. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong about no public access. The Carterton Council made it a condition of consent. It is there at the end of the road closest to the sea. Sorry to rain on your barrow pushing parade.