Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Effective design and implementation of a monitoring system to support dynamic adaptive pathways planning (DAPP) for managing rising coastal risk in New Zealand

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posted on 2022-07-14, 01:22 authored by Kavale, Eugene

Sea-level rise due to climate change is compounding coastal hazard risk and threatening coastal communities around the world, but the rate and extent of this varies and is deeply uncertain beyond mid-century. Dynamic adaptive pathways planning (DAPP) has emerged internationally and within New Zealand to enable flexible long-term adaptation despite this deep uncertainty, by identifying different risk management options which can be switched between over time (pathways) based on their performance in meeting objectives (in this context, to reduce coastal hazard risk). Critical to DAPP is the monitoring of signals (early warnings) and triggers (decision points) to activate a change in pathway before pre-agreed adaptation thresholds (failure to achieve objectives) are reached, thus ensuring timely and proactive adaptation. Given DAPP’s novelty however, knowledge about how to effectively design and implement a signal and trigger monitoring system (particularly for rising coastal risk in New Zealand) remains limited, with the most advanced cases of DAPP in New Zealand only just entering the monitoring design stages at the time of this research.

This thesis addresses these knowledge gaps by discussing criteria of effectiveness for two aspects of monitoring: (1) signal and trigger design (with the criteria of relevance, measurability, timeliness and resolvability); and (2) monitoring system implementation (with the criteria of organisational implementability, sustainability and accountability). Using these criteria as a basis, this thesis identifies the challenges local councils in New Zealand are facing in designing signals and triggers, potential barriers to implementation of monitoring systems, and how those challenges/barriers may be addressed.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

190101 Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

3 Applied research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Lawrence, Judy; Bell, Rob