Whangapoua Harbour and Mercury Bay

JAMES HUTT
Coastal Panel - Mercury Bay 

Where do you live?
I’ve lived in Whitianga for the last 15 years.

Tell us a bit about yourself...
I’m a science and maths teacher at the Mercury Bay Area School.

I’ve trained in coastal geo-morphology (the study of how the shape of the coastline changes over time). I love getting coastal processes into my geography lessons and I’ve run a course on coastal processes for students, involving measuring Buffalo Beach and other local beaches over time on field trips.

The ocean is my passion – being in it or on it. I love fishing, sailing, diving or just walking the beach.  I also spend a lot of time on the beach with my two children.

Why did you join the coastal panel?
I wanted to be involved in this shoreline management project as I observe what’s happening around our coast and want to get my voice heard. I particularly hope to bring along the idea that we don’t have to modify our coast with man-made structures such as groynes and seawalls. I’ve travelled in Europe and the modification of the coast there is huge, with rock walls and virtually no beaches left in some places.  I see us going down the same path and it scares me.

Where is your favourite spot on the Coromandel coast?
Otama. I got married on that beach.

What do you hope to achieve as part of the coastal panel?
I want to learn the background about what has been done already regarding coastal protection across our district. My focus areas of interest are the areas currently experiencing erosion, where the community has a lot of interest, such as around the boat club on Buffalo Beach. I’m looking forward to getting to know people on the panel better.