Marine processes and coastal landforms
As most (86%) of the New Zealand population is urban and no part of the country is more than 130 km from the sea, most New Zealanders live, work, and play in the coastal zone and its resources are exploited in manifold ways. It is therefore surprising that scientific studies aimed at understanding coastal resources and underpinning sustainable management of the coastal zone are quite recent (Hume et at. 1992), although the volume of research and the coverage of the coastal zone has increased dramatically in the last decade. The shape of the islands results in a long (11000 km), varied coastline in relat ion to land area, and our 3.3 million population enjoys a comparatively long 3.3 metres of shore per person (Kirk 1987 ). These simple statistics suggest that the coastal zone has high importance for the community (not to mention the fact that the bulk of national commerce depends upon our ports).