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Whakakī Lake

Whakakī Lake is considered a taonga tuku iho, a food basket to the many hapu of Whakakī. We are working with the people of Whakakī Nui a Rua to restore the mauri and health of the wetlands for future generations.

About Whakakī

The lake is the largest freshwater lagoon on the East Coast of the North Island.

A narrow strip of beach dune acts as a natural dam between the lakes and the ocean. This natural dam stops freshwater flowing out to sea and creates the lake and wetland complex. The lake is regularly opened to the sea to relieve flooding on surrounding farmland.

The flow of sediment and nutrients coming into the Whakakī wetland is a continual problem, and brings unwanted consequences for the health of the lake and the community.

The aim is to restore the health and mauri (life force) of the lake for future generations, so tuna (eel), morihana (carp) and traditional kaiare are fit for consumption, and people can swim safely.

How are we restoring the lake?

We are working with Whakaki Lake Trustees, farmers, iwi and the wider community to share knowledge, build relationships and ultimately rebuild the health and mauri of the lake.

We have a number of environmental projects on the go, including fencing, planting native trees around the lake, and working with farmers to encourage sustainable land use and practices.

Freshwater Improvement Fund

In 2019, the project was granted $3 million from the Government’s Freshwater Improvement Fund. The bulk of the funding is being used for two large projects to improve the water quality of the lake.


This doesn’t operate like a normal dam. It has been carefully designed so it does not form a barrier to fish. The weir won’t stop water from entering the lake. The main purpose of the weir is to maintain safe water levels and protect the lake from dropping too low after a spring or summer opening event.

Recirculating wetland

This will pump silt-laden water from the lake, through a wetland treatment system and return cleaner water to the lake.

Hill Country Erosion scheme

Under this scheme, thousands of native and exotic trees are being planted in the Whakakī catchment to help prevent erosion and manage nutrient flow.

Farm Environment Management Plans (FEMPS)

We are working directly with farmers to encourage sustainable land use and to help them reduce nutrient and contaminant loss through their FEMPS.

More information about FEMPs

Whakakī community projects

There are a number of whānau and community events throughout the year.

For whānau, there are several opportunities to be involved with the positive mahi that is happening in Whakakī, such as the annual Whakakī Community Rubbish Clean Ups, whānau planting days, working bees at the marae and Whakakī school, various wānanga (spaces of learning and sharing) as well as Outdoor Education School visits.

More information is available in this historical blog about Whakakī, capturing community projects and development between August 2017 and March 2020.

Whakakī Environmental Monitoring Data

We undertake monthly monitoring of five sites in the Whakaki catchment, including two on the main lake, one of the Rahui Channel, and one each of the Waikatuku and Tuhara streams.

A monitoring platform in the centre of the lake monitors weather and water level in real time.  Check out the latest readings for water level, faecal contamination and algae by clicking on the tabs below.

  • Water level
  • Cyanobacteria (blue green algae)
  • E.coli (faecal contamination)

View our full Whakakī environmental monitoring dashboard

Upcoming huis and community days

There are no upcoming community huis.

Useful documents

Find out more about Whakaki Lake in our report card
Check out our more detailed publication about Lake Whakaki here

Find further Whakakī documents in the 'related documents' tab at the top of this page


Check out this video introducing the Whakakī project, and a presentation from Dr Andy Hicks, a freshwater ecologist at the Regional Council, talking about the proposed weir on the Rahui channel, what it will look like and its impacts on the ecology of the lake.


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While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

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