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Catchment overview

The Kaituna Maketū and Pongakawa/Waitahanui catchments include 2194 km of waterways, from the Rotorua lakes through to the Maketu and Little Waihi estuaries.

On this page:

Land and water use in the catchments

Kaituna Catchment Map

Kaituna Catchment UseKaituna key factsKaituna Catchment Waterways


How clean is your water?

The Kaituna/Maketu catchment starts at Lakes Rotorua and Rotoiti. Rainwater and groundwater runs off the hills and into the lakes, Kaituna River and the Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary, via many rivers, streams and drains.

In the upper catchment, the water is reasonably clean and fresh. In the lower catchment, the effects of urban and agricultural run-off (which can contain animal faecal matter and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous) accumulate and cause degraded water quality.

Regional Council's water quality monitoring results for the Kaituna River, Kaikokopu, Pongakawa and Waitahanui catchments are regularly updated at See our swimming water quality page for bathing beach status ratings on popular swimming spots such as Maketu and Little Waihi.

Download the Kaituna How clean is our water? poster to see how you can help care for water quality in the catchment (pdf, 504KB)

Read our science summary:

Geology and soil health

The Kaituna/Maketū and Pongakawa/Waitahanui catchments have two distinct soil and geological zones. The upper catchment is comprised of pumice and allophanic soils over ignimbrite. Lower catchments are comprised of organic, recent and gley soils over gravel. Both soil zones have very distinct chemical and physical characteristics which impact on their ability to support different land uses.

Read our science summary:

Thriving together

Regional Council is working with local community representatives to develop changes to the Regional Water and Land Plan that will improve the way land and water is managed in the catchments, but we're also doing lots of work on the ground to care for waterways, wildlife, flood resilience and land productivity. 

The 2009 Kaituna River and Ongatoro/Maketu Estuary Strategy identified community aspirations and mapped a pathway for collaboration to ensure that the mauri (life force) of the river and estuary is sustained so that water is clean and plentiful enough to:

  • swim in enjoy for recreation and water supply
  • support thriving wildlife populations and wetland restoration
  • enable tangata whenua to gather kaimoana for their manuhiri and themselves

Bay of Plenty Regional Council is investing more than $15m over the coming 10 years to help care for land, water and wildlife in the catchment.

Together with tangata whenua, business, landowners, community groups and the wider community we can make sure the catchment remains a great place to live, work and play.

Here’s how:

Kaituna Thriving Together image

Download a higher resolution PDF version of the above image

Kaituna/Maketu and Pongakawa Waitahanui - Thriving Together  pdf, 770KB