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Mohaka CatchmentMōhaka

We’re working with tangata whenua and the community to develop a plan for managing land and freshwater in the Mohaka Catchment.

The Mohaka Awa/River and its kautawa/tributaries, Taharua, Ripia, Waipunga, Hautapu and Te Hoe awa have significant ecological, cultural, and recreational values.

About half of the catchment – area around awa and their kautawa –is in native bush, and the quality of the whole awa is valued and recognised locally and nationally, with a Water Conservation Order protecting the river above Willowflat. You can see how land is used in the catchment here.


 The Mohaka is also a working catchment where farming and forestry are important both to the economy and individual livelihoods.

Plan Change

We’re starting work on a plan to improve how we look after the awa/river and whenua/land.  We’ll be taking an integrated ‘ki uta ki tai/mountains to sea’ approach, working with tangata whenua and the community to find a way forwards to improve the awa and support economic activity and local jobs. 

Together, we’ll develop a vision, prioritise the problems, identify bottom-lines for the environment and draft policies, rules and action plans to fix the problems and improve things.  We’ll be looking at our local needs and aspirations, in a way that also gives effect to the new national requirements for freshwater management.

This plan change is a way to address some catchment issues, care for our biodiversity, and build a more integrated approach to managing the catchment.

Tangata whenua and community engagement

We are engaging with the Mohaka PSGEs, taiwhenua, stakeholders and the wider community as we develop the plan.  PSGEs and taiwhenua with an interest in the Mohaka Catchment include:

  • Tūwhateretoa
  • Hineuru
  • Pāhauwera
  • Tūhoe
  • Manawa
  • Whare
  • Mana Ahuriri
  • Maungaharuru Tangitū
  • Wairoa Taiwhenua
  • Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui a Orotu

Values, outcomes and issues

In November and December 2020, we had our first round of hui/workshops with tangata whenua and the wider community on why the Mohaka is important and the issues facing us.

Here is the presentation made to the meeting held in Napier on 3 December 2020

Here is a summary of information about the state of the river and estuary.

Here is a summary of feedback provided by hui/workshop participants.

This information will help us in the next stage, Step 3 when we start developing and assessing options for better managing land and freshwater within the Mohaka (see below).

Steps in the process

Mohaka web content

The proposed plan change for the Mohaka Catchment will be notified before the end of 2024, as part of a wider review of the Regional Council’s Regional Resource Management Plan and Regional Coastal Environment Plan.


Waiata o te Awa o Mohaka

This is a waiata composed by Ramon Joe a kaumatua of Ngāti Pāhauwera giving the story of the Mohaka from its origins in the headwaters to the mouth and out to sea.  The Mohaka is significant to a number of iwi, hapū, marae and land trusts.

I timata mai ia i tawhiti pamamao

Ki te mau mai i tona kupu

Ko ona wehenga, ko te Taharua i Poronui

Ko Te Ripia ki Ahimanawa

Ko Te Makahu i Kaweka

Ko te Waipunga i Kaingaroa

Ko Matakuhia i Tarawera

Ko haere mai ma waenganui

O Turanga-kumu-rau

Ko Te Titi o Kura

Ka huri ki te tairawhiti

I te taha o Maungaharuru

Ka puta mai ko Te Hoe i Huiarau

He aha ra te mea nei ? He aha ra te mea nei ?

He taniwha ? He tipua ? He tangata ? Hei !

Kahore ! Ko te awa o Mohaka

E huri ana ra, e koki ana mai,

E piko ake nei, e rere atu ra

Ki te marae o Pahauwera

I te ngutuawa o Te Ika a Maui

Ki a Tangaroa, ki a Paikea

Te Kai-tiaki o Pahauwera e


It begins in the far distance to bring its message;

Its offshoots (tributaries) are Taharua at Poronui,

Ripia at Ahimanawa, Makahu at Kaweka,

Waipunga at Kaingaroa, and Te Matakuhia at Tarawera.

It then flows down between Turanga-kumu-rau and Te

Titi-o-Kura, turning eastward along the side of

Maungaharuru, emerging at Te Hoe in Huiarau.

What is this thing? A taniwha? A giant? A man?

No! It is the Mohaka River! It twists and turns

And flows on to the marae of Ngati Pahauwera at the

mouth of Te Ika a Maui — to Tangaroa (the God of the

sea) and to Paikea (a taniwha), the guardian of Ngati Pahauwera

Mohaka River above Te Kooti Lookout Courtesy of

Mohaka viaduct and mixed land uses of the lower catchment Courtesy of

Mohaka riverlands looking upstream of SH5 Courtesy of

Rafting on middle Mohaka Courtesy of CopyTrout angling down from Glenfalls Courtesy of

Taking action

Part of the plan will be working with locals to develop Action Plans to address priority problems and opportunities for the catchment, and to give effect to the new national regulations for freshwater, stock exclusion, and water metering.

For example, in the Taharua catchment, local landowners and key organisations have been working with the Regional Council to address water quality degradation in the Taharua River from intensive land use in the catchment. The group is made up of key stakeholders to support sustainability in the area, including landowners, iwi, industry groups, recreational groups, and councils.

Such local initiatives will be important to foster better environmental and economic outcomes for local communities.

Background Information

A number of reports have been prepared describing aspects of the Mohaka Catchment, including

Summary reports on values of proposed Outstanding Water Bodies:




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