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Puhoi estuary is a permanently open tidal lagoon on Auckland’s northeast coast. The estuary meanders some 13km inland and is sheltered at the mouth by a large sandspit. The sandflats within the estuary are used as feeding grounds for a variety of fish and bird species, and wide mangrove forest lines much of the middle and upper reaches.    

The surrounding catchment is mostly rural, but also contains areas of urban development and native forest. The monitoring sites in Puhoi have low levels of mud and metal contamination and are generally in good health.

The estuary features important areas of saline vegetation, and the upper reaches have a diverse range of habitats including estuary, stream, and freshwater wetlands. The ‘at risk’ North Island fern bird, ‘naturally uncommon’ banded rail, and ‘nationally endangered’ Australasian bittern all inhabit the estuary. Several other migratory bird species utilise the Puhoi estuary as a stop-over during their travels.

Estuary summary

What makes my estuary unique?

Explore the characteristics of this estuary


Estuary characteristics

  • Significant features
    • Adjacent to Wenderholm Regional Park
    • Within the Hauraki Gulf marine Park
    • The upper estuary has a diverse range of habitats including estuary, stream and freshwater wetland
    • Significant Ecological Areas identified within the estuary as defined in the Auckland Unitary Plan
  • Total area
    170 hectares
  • Total shoreline length
    ~16 km
  • Key rivers
    • Puhoi River
    • Okahu Creek

What's happening upstream?

See results from monitored river quality sites influencing this estuary

River quality

What's happening upstream?

The physical characteristics and health of estuaries are influenced by the rivers and streams flowing into them. For instance, when it rains the mud and contaminants generated on land can be washed into rivers and eventually flow into the estuary. The health of our rivers and streams can therefore be very important for Estuary Health, and understanding the upstream pressures can help with interpreting estuary monitoring data.

Monitoring is undertaken for a range of river health indicators (e.g., water quality and ecology) in many catchments across the region. Where there are monitored river catchments that influence this estuary, these are shown below. You can click through to view monitoring results from these River Quality sites to see current state and how health has changed over time.

What surrounds my estuary?

See land cover information from monitored catchments that surround this estuary

Land cover

What surrounds my estuary?

The physical characteristics and health of estuaries are influenced by local geography and the way we use our land. This is because estuaries are the receiving environments for many of our land use activities. Land cover information can be used as an indicator of land use, therefore knowing the surrounding land cover can help us understand which pressures might be affecting Estuary Health.

Where there is land cover information available for nearby catchments, these are listed below. These figures show the types of vegetation and built or natural features that surround the estuary margins and the rivers that flow into this estuary. You can click through to the Land Cover topic to see these land cover classes broken down into further detail, and view changes over time.

Monitored sites 3

Select a monitored site from the list below

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