Living on the beachfront has always been highly prized in Kiwi culture but for residents of coastal communities around New Zealand feeling the pinch of climate change, it is becoming more like an albatross around their neck.

Described by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as the "nuclear-free moment" of her generation, the world's changing climate can no longer be ignored.

Creating a clear understanding of which areas of New Zealand are vulnerable to sea level changes is at the heart of a new $8m study.

For the next five years, the NZ SeaRise Programme will attempt to provide accurate estimates of the magnitude and rate of sea level rise for coastal regions to the end of this century and beyond. 

Detailed maps will be drawn up from the data in order to show larger seaside settlements where its vulnerabilities lie.

One involved in the study is Professor Tim Naish, of the Antarctic Research Centre, based at Victoria University of Wellington.

He says regardless of what changes are implemented now, a 50cm sea rise by 2100 is unavoidable. 

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