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 Ra to restore the mauri and health of the wetlands for future generations.
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.
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.
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.
Weir - 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
Under this scheme, thousands of native and exotic trees are being planted in the Whakakī catchment to help prevent erosion and manage nutrient flow.
We are working directly with farmers to encourage sustainable land use and to help them reduce nutrient and contaminant loss through their FEMPS.
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.
Here is a historical blog about Whakakī, capturing community projects and development between August 2017 and March 2020
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.
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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