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Uawa River

The Uawa covers a catchment area 536km2 near Tolaga Bay north of Gisborne. Landuse includes extensive sheep and cattle farming with significant areas that have recently changed (since the 1980’s) to more exotic forestry in a response to the level of erosion in the catchment.


Near the turn of the century widespread deforestation resulted in substantial erosion and gully slipping that peaked in the 1970s prior to major reforestation programmes.

Key tributaries include the Hikuwai and Mangatokerau. The Hikuwai is known for high flows in flood situation where the water level can quickly rise by more than 10m as measured by a telemetry site at Hikuwai #4 bridge. Flow, rainfall and a range of water quality parameters are measured at Willow Flat and Hikuwai #4 Bridge sites on the Hikuwai river.

Flat land in the Uawa catchment, near Tolaga Bay has been developed for grapes and Kiwifruit. Irrigation for these crops has had to be piped several hundred meters to avoid the saline characteristic of the water in the Uawa.

Sites 5

Monitored sites in the Uawa River catchment

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