A Freshwater Futures community group has been established for the Pongakawa/Waitahanui catchments, to inform the development of changes to the Regional Natural Resources Plan.

Through a series of workshops held over two years, the group is helping to identify community values and aspirations for freshwater, and providing advice on freshwater management options.

The group's area of interest includes the freshwater bodies and land catchments of Little Waihī, Paengaroa, Pukehina, Ohinepanea, Ōtamarākau and Pongakawa. Their work will result in a draft plan change that sets objectives, limits and methods (including rules) for improving the way water quality and quantity is managed locally.

So far, the group has discussed:

  • The process for implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and what values should be provided for.
  • The current state of water quality, quantity and ecology in the catchment's rivers, groundwater, wetlands and Waihī Estuary.
  • Logical geographic areas for establishing water management objectives (Freshwater Management Units).
  • What an acceptable state of in-river values such as ecosystem health, swimmability and mahinga kai (food gathering) might look like in local waterways, and how that could be measured.


Community group members were appointed following a call for expressions of interest in 2015. As a collective they provide a broad range of feedback and information based on their experience and perceptions as local residents, iwi, businesspeople, councillors and industry, agency, recreation or environmental interest group representatives.  As at January 2019 members included:

Andre Hickson

Bernie Hermann

Bev Nairn

Colin McCarthy

Darryl Jensen

Dennis Walker

Geoff Rice

Grant Rowe

Jane Nees (Regional Councillor)

John Garwood

John Cameron

John Meikle

Julian Fitter

Kepa Morgan

Kevin Marsh

Melv Anderson

Mike Maassen

Paul van den Berg

Wilma Foster


Waitahanui River.
Waitahanui River.

Get notified by email when we update this project.

Send us any feedback, images, videos, news or other content about this project.


21 Dec 2016


Project Updates

about 2 years ago

Health warning issued for Waihī Estuary at Pukehina

A health warning has been issued for Waihī Estuary at Pukehina because of a bloom of potentially toxic algae.

Health warning issued for Waihī Estuary at Pukehina

A health warning has been issued for Waihī Estuary at Pukehina because of a bloom of potentially toxic algae.

“The health warning means that people should avoid any activity which involves contact with the water in Waihī Estuary at Pukehina,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health.

“Algal mats may also accumulate along the shoreline of the estuary and around its mouth and so it’s especially important that parents ensure that children avoid contact with these mats as they may be toxic.”

“Shellfish accumulate the toxin and so it’s advised that shellfish are not collected from anywhere in Waihī Estuary or the estuary mouth,” says Dr de Wet.

Dogs are particularly at risk and should be kept away from the shoreline or areas where algal mats may accumulate. 

Area in Pukehina with potentially toxic algae bloom.

Send us your questions.

Note: Fields marked * must be filled in.


There are no events scheduled for this project.

Follow what we're working on in the Bay of Plenty.