Exposed graded bedding in bedrock. Photo K Pedley (UC)
While the uplift itself can be precisely dated to just after midnight on the 14th November 2016, the geology here that has been exposed is much older. Most of the rock here is Mead Hill Formation with a bit of Amuri Limestone - all part of the Muzzle Group and Seymour Group. These rocks were all laid down on the sea floor. They represent a time during the Late Cretaceous and cross into the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-T) Boundary. This boundary is best expressed to the north at Chancet Rocks Reserve (see link for GeoTrip).
During the Kaikōura Earthquake, this part of the coastline was uplifted around 2.2-2.6 m as a response to rupture along the Needles Fault (the offshore extension of the highly active Kekerengu Fault), located about 2 kilometres offshore. From the Waima River to the south, the uplift gradually decreases north to Cape Campbell, ranging from nearly 3 m down to just less than half a metre as the fault moves away from the coast. The change in ground level at Ward Beach has forced the Flaxbourne River to abandon its estuary and incise through the former estuary bed and gravel beach deposits, exposing more of the bedrock beneath.