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Climate change adaptation planning

Welcome to the project page about Future Buller, a joint long-term project between Buller District Council and the University of Canterbury to find ways to respond to the changing climate and related events now, and into the future.

Project background

Future Buller is a joint long-term project between the Buller District Council and the University of Canterbury to help Buller prepare for and adapt to climate change.

This involves:

  • Understanding the likely changes and impacts climate risk will have on the region (the risk assessment).
  • Working with communities to consider how we can adapt over the upcoming decades (the adaptation plans).

We need your input into this planning to make sure recommended decisions reflect the community’s needs and values.

Please visit to add your thoughts and to see what is happening.

What we are doing now

We are compiling the existing scientific information and modelling for the district to highlight areas and communities at risk now and into the long term future. We are creating an interactive risk viewer to enable all decision makers to see the most up to date risk information. We are also creating a full technical risk assessment report, alongside summary information for communities.

We are collecting information about what is valued across the district.  What are the communities’ priorities for adaptation?

We are reviewing the previous community engagement approaches and comments to inform the next stages and help us to reach the wider communities throughout Buller.

We are also reviewing all the National guidelines for climate change risk and adaptation to help ensure Buller is aligned with national policies and guidance.

Key 2024 project milestones

July 2024
Completion of technical risk assessment.     

August - November 2024                       
Community engagement – understanding risk within the community.

November - December 2024
Adaptation pathway assessment.         

What we have done

In line with government guidance, our first step was to complete a high-level risk screening. View the report here.

In 2023, we commenced engagement to raise awareness of the project and start to gather information about key values in the region. The initial findings will be available soon.                                     

Key terms explained

Climate change refers to long-term changes to average weather patterns. This includes changes to average temperatures, seasons, wind patterns and rainfall. The impacts of climate change can threaten our communities. Whether you live inland or on the coast, nearly everyone community in the Buller district will be exposed to some level of risk.

Climate change hazards can include sea level rise, coastal flooding, coastal erosion, increased tsunami risk, groundwater changes, surface water flooding, river flooding, land slips, extreme wind, rising temperatures, heat waves, drought, wildfires, and marine heatwaves.

A climate change risk assessment examines the likelihood of an event occurring and the consequences of it doing so. The climate risk assessment looks across the whole Buller district and into smaller areas to find out which communities are at risk and how they are impacted. The risk assessment uses the best available science to understand the potential challenges climate change will have on Buller’s communities, including the impacts to life, livelihoods, health and wellbeing, property, infrastructure and the natural environment.

Planning for and adjusting to climate risk and its effects is known as adaptation. It refers to actions that reduce the harmful outcomes, while taking advantage of possible new opportunities.  The adaptation plans may combine a variety of approaches:

Adaptation plans will include triggers for moving from one adaptation option to another pathway.

More information

If you would like to know more about this work, or how you can get involved, please visit 

If you would like to find out more about climate change, please use the resource below: