Journal article

The geomorphology and evolution of a large barrier spit: Farewell Spit, New Zealand

Helen M Tribe, David M Kennedy



Farewell Spit is a 25 km long barrier spit that marks the end of a littoral drift system, almost 1000 km in length that runs along South Island, New Zealand. The spit is composed of barchan dunes over 20 m high, sand sheets over 1 km wide and vegetated linear dunes. Analysis of aerial photography indicates a rapid colonization of the spit by vegetation which has expanded in area by 75% since 1950. Vegetation colonization preferentially occurs on the southern side of the spit, with its northern margin characterized by barchan dunes which migrate at rates of up to 64 m/yr. Sand sourced from longshore drift appears to be the primary source of beach sediment, which is then transported into the d..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

Rod Boys and Matt Ward (Victoria University of Wellington) as well as Greg Napp and Hans Stoffregen [Department of Conservation (DoC) Takaka] are thanked for assistance in the field as are Mairead de Roiste and Andrew Rae for help with GIS. Fieldwork was conducted under permits issued by the DoC and funded by the Tasman District Council through the Foundation for Science Research and Technology's Envirolink Programme. Review comments by Scott Nichol and an anonymous reviewer helped improve the manuscript.