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Mahere Kohinga Wai o Waipaoa

Waipaoa Catchment Plan Review

The Waipaoa Catchment Plan was developed alongside the Regional Freshwater Plan and publicly notified in 2015. The catchment plan needs to be reviewed to ensure it meets the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020 requirements.

This time a specific Waipaoa Catchment Advisory Group has been set up to guide the review of the catchment plan.


Engagement with the Waipaoa Advisory Group is ongoing.

The review of the Waipaoa Catchment Plan will

  • actively engage and collaborate with iwi and hapū in freshwater planning
  • set up a freshwater advisory group to guide the review
  • ensure residents and stakeholders have opportunities to inform how water will be managed
  • provide clear direction for sustainable management of freshwater in the catchment.

Engagement with tangata whenua

Engagement with tangata whenua is central to the Waipaoa Catchment Plan and the freshwater planning process.

Through this engagement we hope to develop a vision for Te Mana o Te Wai and to work together to give effect to it. We also hope to recognise mana whenua values, matauranga and aspirations.

Community Engagement

We'll hold community workshops with residents and whānau from the catchment communities. All meetings are open to everyone.

Through community engagement we will:

  • Reconfirm and identify any new issues and values of waterbodies in the catchment
  • Reconfirm the freshwater management units (FMU)
  • Review and confirm objectives
  • Review targets, and change targets if appropriate
  • Review water quality and quantity targets and change if appropriate
  • Review and confirm non-regulatory projects that support achieving objectives and targets

The catchment plan should be ready for public notification by the end of 2026.

Waipaoa Advisory Group Documents

About the Waipaoa Catchment

The Waipaoa River catchment is extensively farmed. It covers 216,484 ha and has formed the fertile and highly productive Poverty Bay flats on the edge of Gisborne city. It is an important source of water for irrigation, a back-up source of water for Gisborne city, and the major recharge source for extensively used aquifers.

Key subcatchments of the Waipaoa include the Waikohu, Mangatu, Waingaromia, Wharekopae, and Te Arai.

Some areas are particularly susceptible to soil erosion, notably in the Waingaromia and Mangatu subcatchments. As a result, the bed in the lower reaches of the catchment is building up due to sediment and gravel deposition. The Poverty Bay Flats and the city are protected by the stopbanks of the Waipaoa River Flood Control Scheme. Annual suspended sediment load for the Waipaoa catchment is 15 million tonnes or 33.54 cubic metres per second. This amount of sediment enters Poverty Bay.

Despite the high sediment loads of the lower reaches of the Waipaoa catchment many of the tributaries in the headwaters provide habitat for a range of indigenous fish species. These species rely on migration up the river system as juveniles and return to the sea as adults. Eels are one example in the fishery that requires this ability to migrate.

Trout are present in the Wharekopae tributary. They have been introduced and are not known to migrate.

Waipaoa Catchment Map

Waipaoa Catchment

How to get involved

  • Check for any open engagements - kōrero mai via our engagement portal
  • Ask us a question - email the team at trmp at gdc.govt.nz
  • Sign up for Council News | He Pānuiusing this form.