RCEM Post-Conference Field Trip to the East Cape

RCEM Post-Conference Field Trip to the East Cape

Friday 22 Nov - Sunday 24 Nov

Jon Tunnicliffe (U Auckland) & Brenda Rosser (GNS)

Please contact Jon Tunnicliffe to register your interest in this field trip  [email protected]

Figure 1 - Braid plains of the Tapuaeroa River 

You are invited to join us for a tour of some of New Zealand's most scenic and rugged riverscapes, beaches and coastlines. The RCEM 2019 post-conference Field Trip will travel by bus (~130 km) from Gisborne and Ruatoria, stopping to see the Waipaoa, Uawa and Waiapu Rivers, as well as observing the coastline and its many secluded bays. 

Figure 2 - Proposed field trip route. An expedition to the Waipaoa River will be included as well.

New Zealand’s East Cape is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty, its remote setting (well off the beaten tourist path!) and the vibrant Maori culture that pervades the many small towns, both inland and along the coastal track. The area is the traditional rohe, or tribal area, of Ngāti Porou and the Waiapu River features prominently in legend and tradition.

The tour will be partly based in Ruatoria, where we will visit and engage with local experts and community members who work on the rivers and coastline. Locals have been developing a management plan for the nearby Waiapu River, in light of the large sediment loads, and the dynamic behaviour of the lower river reaches.

Figure 3 - Meander bend in the lower Waiapu River, where the river has previously undercut the shoulder of State Highway 35.
The Waiapu River is a large, braided system, ranked among the highest-yielding rivers on the planet. We will visit some notable sites of river dynamism, downstream from gully mass-wasting complexes that have induced significant rates of aggradation and feed the braided tributaries of the river.

Figure 4 - The mouth of the Waiapu River, (c) Google Earth, DigitalGlobe
Details are still being finalized, but the trip format will be roughly as follows:

Friday 22 Nov
  • Flight from Auckland to Gisborne
  • Afternoon visit sites on the Waipaoa and Uawa Rivers and other scenic points along Tairawhiti Coast
  • Tour of exceptional aggradation sites on the Waiorongomai and Tapuaeroa Rivers
  • Arrive in Ruatoria; visit with community followed by a meal and a stay in a traditional marae

Saturday 23 Nov
  • Scenic tour on Mount Hikurangi (first sunrise in NZ!)
  • Site visits along the Waiapu R. including the lower river
  • Tour of the river mouth and coastal tract
  • Meeting with local river action group, discussions on the lower course of the Waiapu
  • Refreshment and dinner

Sunday 24 Nov
  • On the road back to Gisborne, scenic stops along the way
  • Late afternoon flight back to Auckland
Indicative costs:
With a return flight to Gisborne, return transport from Gisborne to Ruatoria, meals and other incidental costs, the package price will be roughly NZD$668.05/US$450/EUR€400. This will be adjusted once we have a better estimate of participation levels. If there is an insufficient number of participants to offer the trip, full refunds will be provided.

Figure 5 - Aerial view of Raparapariririki Stream, a tributary with some of the highest rates of sediment yield in New Zealand (30 m of aggradation in 25 yrs).
Figure 6 - Sunrise on the flanks of Mt. Hikurangi, overlooking the Waiapu Catchment. These are some of the first rays to touch land in the Southern Hemisphere.
Figure 7 - We will visit the former site of the Barton homestead on the Waiorongomai River, which has been inundated from prolific sediment production from a nearby gully fan


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