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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

Our climate is changing. Buller needs to plan for now, and the future. 

Many of our communities already face significant risks, and these are only expected to increase over time as our climate changes.

While climate hazards threaten some aspects of our lives, there are many parts that aren’t affected or if they are at risk, can be adapted.

Key terms explained

A 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 using the best available science to understand the potential for climate change to create harmful outcomes that impact on lives, 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.

Proactively addressing climate risk will be cheaper in the long run than rebuilding after disaster strikes. Understanding climate risk and preparing for it helps to protect people and places from the mounting costs of climate change.

Understanding climate risk and making plans to address it is an important step for whanau, communities, organisations, and policymakers to take in the face of climate change.  This requires a detailed assessment of both the hazard, and the likely impact on the things we value.

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 this can threaten our communities, where we live and work, and many of the things we care about.

Whether you live inland or on the coast, rurally or in a small settlement or town, nearly every community and person will be exposed to some level of risk from climate change – and many people across the Buller district already are.

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.

What have we been doing?

Council is taking a science-based approach to developing a Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Buller; informed by a risk assessment based on the Local Climate Change Risk Assessment guide published by the Ministry for the Environment in September 2021.

In 2022 our project team started working with climate scientists and representative stakeholder groups to take a first pass look at climate risk across the whole district.  The summary of this work will be available soon through this web page.

We have identified key pieces of scientific information that will enable us to accurately plan for climate hazards and we are working with NIWA and other scientists to fill the ‘science gaps’ that exist.

As a community, we need to make changes to adapt to these hazards and all of Buller needs to be involved in this planning and decision-making process. Part of getting involved is having your say about what’s most important and sharing your ideas.

Future Buller is your opportunity to be involved and have your say.

What’s next?

In 2023 we will begin engaging with you about what you care about and value in your community. We need you to get involved in the conversation by telling us what you think and sharing what matters most to you about Buller. 

This web page will be used to help you find out what work has been completed, what climate risk information exists, what is happening across the district, and help you engage in this important work. We will also be using Council’s Connect newsletter, and other media channels such as Facebook, to keep you informed of engagement opportunities as the work continues.

Tell us what’s important, share your ideas, learn about the science, help work through the options, and agree on the plan.

Visit to learn more and have your say.

More information

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