We’re making Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi/Maketu Estuary healthier for people to swim and fish in.

We've restored up to 20 percent of the Kaituna River's freshwater flows into the estuary. We’ve also re-created 20 hectares of wetlands around the estuary margin, to help filter nutrients and create breeding areas for birds and fish.

Construction work began in June 2018 and its completion was publicly celebrated with karakia and a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of new re-diversion control gates on Wednesday 12 February 2020. The project was completed on budget and 5 months ahead of schedule. All construction works have been completed.

See video clips from the opening celebration and previous project progress updates.

Project updates and monitoring

Project progress and monitoring results were reported on annually and updates given to the community at quarterly public meetings during construction works. Monitoring is continuing and public update sessions will be held annually for five years following the 12 February 2020 commissioning of the diversion control gates.

Follow this project page or subscribe to our e-newsletter below to receive occasional email updates and notification when the date is set for the next public information session.

Resource consent documents

Kaituna River Re-diversion and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary Enhancement Project Notice of Requirement and Resource Consent Application, lodged July 2014:

Volume A: Assessment of Environmental Effects

Volume B: Technical Reports

Volume C: Drawing Set

Further information:

Post lodgement documents:

Assessment of Environmental Effects

Hearing documents

Agenda for 4-8 May hearing on resource consents and NOR applications:

Evidence briefs from project team

Technical reports that are available by contacting the Bay of Plenty Regional Council:

  • 1986 Bay of Plenty Catchment Commission Maketu Estuary Study Stage 1 Report KRTA 1986 (Objective id A1640741)
  • 1987 Julie Burton Thesis on Maketu Estuary tidal inlet hydraulics and stability (Objective id A1698891)
  • Ecology and Geomorphology of Maketu Estuary Bay of Plenty Thesis of Kenneth Murray 1978 Up to chapter 6 (Objective id A1671822)
  • Ecology and Geomorphology of Maketu Estuary Bay of Plenty Thesis Kenneth Murray 1978 Chapter 7 to end (Objective id A1671885)
  • Hydrodynamic and Water Quality Modelling of the lower Kaituna River and Maketu Estuary Thesis by Nigel David Goodhue (Objective id A73847
  • Kaituna River to Maketu Estuary Re-diversion Report Model Calibration and Initial Hydrodynamic Impact Assessment January 2009 (Objective id A226068)
  • Maketu Estuary Environmental Issues and Options Commission for the Environment Wellington NZ 1984 (Objective id A1637550)
  • Maketu Estuary Restoration Strategy A Proposal to Central and local Government Coordinated by Department of Conservation March 1989 (Objective id A1629567)

Project goal

The goal of the Kaituna River Re-diversion and Estuary Enhancement Project is to significantly increase the volume of water (particularly fresh water) flowing from the Kaituna River into Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi/Maketū Estuary by 2018 in a way that maximises the ecological and cultural benefits (particularly wetlands and kaimoana) while limiting the economic cost and adverse environmental effects to acceptable levels.

The re-diversion has been designed to maximise the flow into the estuary while keeping Te Tumu cut open for flood protection and boating access.

Key contact

For questions, complaints or feedback about this project, please contact the Project Manager, Pim de Monchy, on 0800 884 880 or use the feedback form below.

Project updates

about 4 years ago

The health of Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi Maketu Estuary is showing early signs of improvement

The health of Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi Maketu Estuary is showing early signs of improvement as a result of works, led by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to restore natural flows and marshlands, that began in 2017.

2020-10-13 - The health of Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi Maketu Estuary is showing early signs of improvement

monitoring infographic

estuary map

about 4 years ago

Kaituna River Re-diversion project receives second award for excellence

The Kaituna River Re-diversion and Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi / Maketū Estuary Enhancement Project was announced this week as the 2020 winner of the Terry Healy Coastal Project Award from the New Zealand Coastal Society (NZCS).

2020-10-02 - Kaituna River Re-diversion project receives second award for excellence

The Kaituna River Re-diversion and Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi / Maketū Estuary Enhancement Project was announced this week as the 2020 winner of the Terry Healy Coastal Project Award from the New Zealand Coastal Society (NZCS).

The award acknowledges a coastal project which has made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s coastal and marine environment and is the second award for excellence that the project has received in the last six months.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Coastal Catchments Manager Pim De Monchy said that pivotal to the project’s success was the long-term commitment and persistence of all of those involved in calling for the project, securing the funding, recreating the wetland and returning an average of 600,000 cubic metres of the Kaituna River’s freshwater flows to the estuary every tidal cycle.

“None of this could have been achieved without the collaboration and partnership of tangata whenua, landowners, and the wider community.

“By working together and standing on the shoulders of those who have worked on this kaupapa in the past, we are helping to solve some really complex environmental and social challenges for the long term benefit of the estuary,” Mr De Monchy said.

WSP Technical Principal of Planning, Steph Brown who presented the project at the NZ Coastal Society’s webinar event, also remarked that the design and environmental assessments undertaken involved collaborative input from a broad range of engineering, environmental, social and cultural specialists.

“The success of the project demonstrates that applying sound engineering practice supported by scientific knowledge and community input can achieve great things. The project is a major step toward addressing past modifications that have led to the declining health of the estuary over time,” said Ms Brown.

Collaboration with iwi was critical to the success of the project, with seven iwi groups directly involved and four separate cultural impact assessments undertaken. This approach ensured that the project also contributed to the restoration of cultural knowledge and the mauri of the river and estuary.

Presenting at the NZ Coastal Society’s webinar Liam Te Wherowhero Tapihana, Ngāti Whakaue reinforced that if you work with nature, it will heal itself.

“Early on we’ve seen some changes and it’s great to see the recovery. Shellfish including tuangi (cockles) and titiko (mud snails) have already started returning to the estuary.

We have a saying, Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – we are the river and the river is us. The early signs of recovery in the estuary give us all hope for the long term health of the environment and people of the Maketū area,” Mr Tapihana explained.

Further monitoring and work on the Kaituna awa and its catchments is planned in the coming years to support a thriving community and environment through the Te Tini a Tuna – the Kaituna River Action Plan.

kaituna river before

kaituna river now

Location of new diversion channel - before (top) and now (bottom).

about 4 years ago

National award for Kaituna River re-diversion project

We are honoured, together with our consultancy firm WSP, to have received the New Zealand Planning Institute Rodney Davies Project Award yesterday for the Kaituna River re-diversion and Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi Maketu Estuary enhancement project.

2020-05-12 - National award for Kaituna River re-diversion project

We are honoured, together with our consultancy firm WSP, to have received the New Zealand Planning Institute Rodney Davies Project Award yesterday for the Kaituna River re-diversion and Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi Maketu Estuary enhancement project.

The Award recognises innovation and creative excellence in the undertaking and completion of a physical work or development.

The award is a credit to everyone involved and we’re really grateful for the support, patience and co-operation we received as we worked together to try and solve a really complex environmental and social challenge. Read more here.

Watch a video on the Kaituna River re-diversion project overview for NZPI Award.

about 5 years ago

Kaituna River re-diversion opening celebrated

On Wednesday 12 February, the Maketu community joined us in celebrating the opening of the Kaituna River re-diversion control gates the partial return of freshwater flows into Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi/Maketu Estuary.

2020-02-12 - Kaituna River re-diversion opening celebrated

On Wednesday 12 February, the Maketu community joined us in celebrating the opening of the Kaituna River re-diversion control gates the partial return of freshwater flows into Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi/Maketu Estuary.

Kaituna rediversion opening

A huge thank you to everyone that joined us, and to all those that have been involved in the project along the way. Together we've delivered this $16.6m project on budget, and five months ahead of schedule.

See media release here. Videos of the speeches from the event are now available on Youtube here.

For the first year of operation we’ll be allowing the estuary to adapt gradually by opening just nine culverts on each incoming tide, and monitoring that closely before we open all twelve.

Public information sessions to report on monitoring results will be held annually for the next five years.

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