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Outstanding Water Bodies Plan ChangeTe mahere panoni ā-manga wai whakaharahara

The Regional Council is working to identify outstanding water bodies in the Hawke’s Bay rohe to ensure our most treasured waterways are protected and provided for well into the future.

OWB photoIdentifying and protecting outstanding water bodies is a key aspect of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM). The NPSFM and the Regional Council’s work programme also seeks to improve the region’s rivers, lakes, streams, estuaries and aquifers.

We have made significant progress so far. In May 2018 a candidate list of OWB were selected by the Council’s Regional Planning Committee for further assessment.  Here is the list of candidate OWB and associated reports.

We asked for comments on the outstanding water body plan change and the candidate list of outstanding water bodies.


Our coastal and fresh waters are essential to New Zealand’s economic, environmental, cultural and social well-being - highly valued for their cultural and recreational values. They underpin important parts of New Zealand’s biodiversity and natural heritage.

Regional councils are tasked with ensuring all of New Zealand’s water bodies are managed wisely.  The National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement set a clear national direction to assist regional councils to manage water bodies in a consistent, integrated and sustainable way.

A number of New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and coastal areas are iconic and well known globally for their natural beauty and unique values. The NPSFM recognises this, and allows for exceptional water bodies to have special protection. Protection does not lesson the importance of, or value associated with other water bodies, which are managed through other parts of the NPSFM.


In June 2017, this Regional Council endorsed an approach, co-designed with tāngata whenua representatives of the Regional Planning Committee, to identify outstanding water bodies in Hawke’s Bay.

Staff carried out a high-level review of 90 publications, which documented the cultural, recreation, landscape and ecology values associated with 130 water bodies across the region. This was done to build a clearer picture of their value and potential for being classified as outstanding.

Earlier in 2018, the high level review findings were reported to the Regional Planning Committee. The Regional Planning Committee  selected a list of 22 candidate OWB to proceed for further assessment by staff.

the Regional Council and authors of these reports are aware there are numerous areas, including waterbodies, where two or more iwi groups have agreed shared interests and/or contested overlapping claims in Hawke's Bay. The information presented in these reports is not intended to imply any exclusive rights over particular waterbodies for one or more iwi groups, nor does it confirm the validity of the claims of any group(s) over that waterbody. The information is solely for the purpose of recording important cultural and spiritual values identified by iwi groups in the region, sourced from existing published documents.

Candidate outstanding water bodies (secondary analysis)

Cultural, recreation, landscape and ecology value sets

Cultural value set only

Te Whanganui a Orotū (Ahuriri Estuary)

Upper Mōhaka River (above Te Hoe River)

Lake Waikaremoana

Upper Ngaruroro River (above Whanawhana)

Taruarau River

Ruakituri River

Lake Whakakī

Mangahauanga Stream

Wairoa River

Heretaunga aquifer

Ruataniwha aquifer

Lake Whatuma

Tukituki River

Waipawa River

Lake Tūtira (including Papakiri Stream and Aropaoanui River)

Karamu River

Lake Waikareiti

Lower Ngaruroro River  (below Whanawhana)

Porangahau River

Makirikiri River

Waipunga River

Tūtaekurī River


The Regional Council sought feedback on our list of ‘outstanding water bodies’ in Hawke’s Bay. We wanted to hear your thoughts - what you thought made them special and if there are any other water bodies that are outstanding in Hawke’s Bay. Submissions closed on 8 March 2019 and your comments and feedback will now be used to further inform the OWB Plan Change.

In 2019 a panel of experts on a broad range of values will evaluate all of the potentially outstanding water bodies for Hawke’s Bay and recommend which should be protected to the Regional Planning Committee. 

Next steps

Late 2018 – A panel of experts was appointed from nominations by key stakeholders, including city and district councils, Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game Council, Department of Conservation, NZ Forest and Bird Society, Federated Farmers, and whitewater rafting and jet boating groups.

Early 2019 – The panel meets to assess and make their recommendations on outstanding water bodies for Hawke’s Bay.

Early-mid 2019 – The Regional Planning Committee will consider a draft change to the Regional Resource Management Plan to identify a list of outstanding water bodies.

Mid-2019 - Formal public submissions on the proposed plan change will be invited. Hearings will be held later in 2019, before the Regional Council makes its final decisions.

Water Conservation Order

The Ngaruroro and Clive Rivers are also being considered for protection under a Water Conservation Order. This is a separate process.


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