Skip to main content


Home > Our region and environment > Rivers and Drainage > Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme

Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme

The Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme comprises two river catchments - the 3005 km2 Rangitaiki catchment and the 984 km2 Tarawera catchment. 

Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme Advisory Group


Membership of the Rivers Scheme Advisory Groups is representative of the different interests and locations within the scheme areas. The groups are designed to share knowledge and views on scheme management matters on behalf of local scheme ratepayers. The groups’ advice on community values, objectives and possible solutions will help us make the best decisions for our river scheme projects, capital works, maintenance programmes and flood repairs.

More information on membership and the role of the advisory group can be found in the Terms of Reference.

Member Name Area Representing  
Graham Smeaton Urban (v)  
Peter Askey Rangitaiki Plains (v)  
Alan Law Rangitaiki Plains (v)  
Linda Virbickas Rangitaiki Plains (v)  
Shona Pedersen Galatea/Waiohau (v)  
Maurice Warbrick Hill country (v)  
Councillor Alison Silcock Whakatane District Council elected representative (nv)  
Jim Finlay Whakatane District Council staff technical representative (nv)  
   v = voting representative   nv = non-voting representative  


Advisory group meetings are held twice a year, usually in March and September, and are chaired by elected Bay of Plenty Regional Councillors. The Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme meetings are chaired by Councillor Norm Brunning with Councillor Bill Clark as deputy chair.

Date Agenda Meeting Notes
 12 September 2018  Agenda - 12 September 2018  (133KB, pdf)  
 13 February 2018  Agenda - 13 February 2018   (83KB, pdf) Draft meeting notes - 13 February 2018   (590KB,pdf)
 8 November 2017    Agenda - 8 November 2017   (48KB, pdf)   Meeting notes - 8 November 2017   (252KB, pdf)  

Scheme overview

The Rangitaiki River rises 130km from the Bay of Plenty coast and 32km east of Lake Taupo to an elevation of 800m. It flows 64km across the Kaingaroa Plains to Murupara where the flood flows are only two or three times the normal as a result of the absorbent pumice plains. 20km further on the Whirinaki and Horomanga tributaries join the main channel contributing relatively large flood flows and quantities of shingle.

The river flows across the Galatea Plains before entering the hydrolake Lake Aniwhenua. Lake Rerewhakaaitu drains into the river which then passes through a gorge and out on to the Waiohau Plains to the hydrolake Lake Matahina. Finally the Rangitaiki passes through a valley, across the Rangitaiki Plains and out to sea at Thornton through a 1500m cut excavated in 1913.

The Tarawera River drains from Lake Tarawera at 300m elevation. The river drops to 150m in 6.5km and continues to fall to Kawerau. Below Kawerau the grade is more gentle. Tributaries such as the Mangawhio, Waiwhakapa, and Mangate join the Tarawera River above Kawerau, the Mangaone and Ruruanga near Otakiri and Awakaponga near Matata. The Rangitaiki Plains drainage scheme also contribute to the Tarawera flow. The pumice of the Tarawera catchment and ponding effect of the lake regulate the runoff and maximum recorded floods have only been two to three times the normal flow.

Scheme maps

Description Size Type
Rangitaiki Attachments map 1 3MB pdf
Rangitaiki Land Formations map 2 3MB pdf
Rangitaiki Tarawera Catchment Geology map 3 3MB jpeg
Rangitaiki Tarawera Catchment Land Cover 3MB jpeg
Rangitaiki-Tarawera Rivers Scheme Rating Area map - index sheet 2MB pdf