Mercury Bay Boating Club relocation faces huge challenges after Cyclone Hale

The future of the Mercury Bay Boating Club in Whitianga is on a knife edge after its foundations were eroded by Cyclone Hale.

The club, which famously challenged for the America's Cup under Sir Michael Fay in 1988, has temporarily relocated but needs to come up with a large sum if it's to reopen. 

The club is currently answering Mother Nature's advance with a temporary solution in an ongoing battle against erosion.

"We've achieved our main goal which was to jack the building up and get it out of harm's way," said Mercury Bay Boating Club commodore Jonathan Kline.

Cyclone Hale tore through six metres of land in front of the building, a hastily-made sandbag wall the only defence.

Now, the little club that famously took on Goliath by challenging for the America's Cup in 1988 is facing its greatest fight yet.

Retreating from the shore has been a $60,000 move and is only temporary until consent can be granted to shift the building again. For now, the club can't be used.

The building has only travelled about 20 metres back from its original spot. The permanent site it needs to get to next is another 20 metres behind where it sits now, over a small rise.

The relocation faces two hurdles; getting consent to move it to land which is wāhi tapu, or sacred, and the significant cost.

"The number that we as a committee have looked for is between $150,000 and $200,000," Kline said.

"This is probably one of the first buildings that's having to be relocated, but I guess if we look at the way the climate's changing, and in the coastal environment that the Coromandel is, there definitely are going to be future buildings that I imagine are going to have to go through this similar sort of process," Bruce Hinson, Thames-Coromandel District Council group manager operations said.

The Mercury Bay Boating Club has kept its junior sailing programme operating by storing the equipment further down the beach, but the programme's future is uncertain.

"Right now we're operating under the energy that it is worth saving, it is worth reinstating, but we have some hard questions going forward," Kline said.

The club may become a coastline casualty, and if it does, it won't be the last. 

Watch the full video for more.