New Zealand beaches include a variety of distinct habitats, each supporting a wide range of living things. All beaches share several characteristics:
- Land forming their shores – hard, such as cliffs and rocks, or soft, such as sand or mud.
- Presence of water – saltwater or a combination of saltwater and freshwater in mudflats and estuaries.
- Tides (tai) – regularly fluctuating levels of water.
Within each habitat, there are a range of conditions to be found with specific adaptations needed by the inhabitants in order to survive.
Image: Ngarimu Bay, Anne Barker.