The Waitepuia sub-catchment (of the greater Ford Rd catchment) is a small sub-catchment located between Te Puke, Paengaroa, and Maketū & Little Waihī urban settlements.
It lies on flat to gently undulating land which drains into the Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi/ Maketū Estuary (receiving environment), directly south-east of the Maketū township. The total catchment covers an area of approximately 1,179 ha. The estuary is a shallow, inter-tidal estuary that covers about 233 ha, including Papahikahawai Island.
Over 50% of the land use in the catchment is dairy farming. Horticulture (mostly kiwifruit) is the second largest land use type accounting for more than 30%. The Land Use Capability (LUC) is made up of a mixture of Class 2s (soil limitation), Class 3w (wetness limitation) and Class 3e (erosion limitation) land.
The soils comprising the lower elevation undulating land are gley soil. Gley soils exhibit high water tables in winter and impaired drainage, and are susceptible to flooding (Rijkse & Guinto, 2010). This is managed through drainage systems throughout the catchment. The other, less extensive soil types in the catchment include composite yellow-brown pumice soil on yellow-brown loam. These soils are well drained and volcanic in origin with parent materials coming from Kaharoa Ash, Taupō Pumice and more recent Tarawera Ash, making them versatile soils.