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Lake Tūtira

Alongside SH2 north of Napier, are the twin lakes of Tūtira and Waikōpiro.  These culturally significant lakes are located along an ancient Māori travelling trail. The lakes were formed by a land slip at least 7200 years ago.  Waikōpiro flows into Tūtira under a narrow strip of land, and the two lakes are effectively one lake during high water levels. A DOC wildlife reserve and Regional Council's regional park border the lake, as well as private land.  Lake Tūtira is one of the most scientifically studied lakes in New Zealand with core samples showing evidence from storms and eruption ash falls.

Tūtira has a maximum depth of 42 metres and an average depth of 21m, has a surface area of 174 hectares and is approximately 155 metres above sea level. Water stays in the lake for at least 3 years.

Tūtira Lake is popular for trout angling, and is regularly stocked by Hawke’s Bay Fish and Game. There are camp sites with basic amenities around the lake and in the Regional Park area, and its close proximity to Hawke’s Bay urban areas make the lakes a valued and well-used natural asset.

The lake is prone to water quality problems, particularly algal blooms during warm summer months. The highly erodible catchment was enriched with phosphorus via aerial topdressing during the late 1940s and 50s. Water quality problems became apparent in the late 50s and the lake has been affected by problematic cyanobacterial blooms for decades.  Efforts to improve water quality in the lake have included diverting the lake’s main tributary, Papakiri Stream (Sandy Creek), to prevent nutrient rich water entering the lake, as well as trialling mechanical bubblers to increase oxygen levels, which proved unsuccessful.

The Tūtira Regional Park is also a demonstration site for sustainable land management, and as well as enhanced wetlands, native bush and an arboretum, has a trial plantation of high UMF manuka; the aim is to find how well this scrub cover performs to improve water quality and provide a profitable crop on steep Hawke’s Bay hillsides.

Also at the lakes is an ongoing MPI-led project aimed at eradicating the invasive macrophyte Hydrilla verticillata from Lakes Tūtira, Waikōpiro and Opouahi using grass carp. NIWA have been leading this work programme and are reporting that there is very little Hydrilla left.  Smaller fish were restocked in 2015 to eat the last of the plants.  Native aquatic plants are now repopulating the lake bed and the freshwater mussel population appears to be in recovery.

Lake Summary
  • Lake size
  • Maximum depth
  • Catchment size
  • Mixing pattern
  • Geomorphic type
Scientific data for this lake

This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils and unitary authorities for two lake water quality and ecological condition measurements. LakeSPI (Lake Submerged Plant Indicators) and TLI (Trophic Level Index).  Select an indicator to see the historical monitoring data.

  • Water Quality

    Trophic Level Index (TLI)

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    This measure is the Trophic Level Index (TLI). The TLI indicates the life supporting capacity of a lake and is based on four water quality indicators.

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    Trophic Level Index (TLI) history for this lake

    Trophic Level Indicator (TLI) which measures four parameters: water clarity, chlorophyll content, total phosphorus and total nitrogen. From these parameters a TLI value is calculated. In cases where water clarity data is missing a three parameter TLI is calculated. The higher the value, the greater the nutrients and fertility of the water which encourages growth, including algal blooms. As a rule, higher TLI scores mean poorer water quality. View a factsheet on TLI

    TLI history for Lake Tūtira

    What do the icons mean?

    Very good water quality. Trophic Level Index of 0-2. Microtrophic lake conditions.
    Good water quality. Trophic Level Index of 2-3. Oligotrophic lake conditions.
    Average water quality. Trophic Level Index of 3-4. Mesotrophic lake conditions.
    Poor water quality. Trophic Level Index of 4-5. Eutrophic lake conditions.
    Very poor water quality. Trophic Level Index of greater than 5. Supertrophic lake conditions.
    No data available.
    TLI history for Lake Tūtira data table
    Year TLI Score
    Year TLI Score
  • Ecological Conditions

    Lake Submerged Plant Indicators (LakeSPI)

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    The LakeSPI status describes the ecological condition of the lake and is based on plants present.

    LakeSPI data provided by NIWA

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    LakeSPI history for this lake

    LakeSPI (Lake Submerged Plant Indicators) is a method of characterising the ecological condition of lakes based on the composition of native and invasive plants growing in them. A higher LakeSPI percentage result is associated with better ecological health:

    LakeSPI N/A
    LakeSPI {{spiData.details.Value}}%

    The overall LakeSPI score is calculated using a Native Condition Index ('good' plants) and an Invasive Impact Index (introduced, non-native plants):

    Native Condition N/A
    Native Condition {{spiData.details.NativeIndex}}%
    Invasive Impact N/A
    Invasive Impact {{spiData.details.InvasiveIndex}}% NA

    A higher Native Condition value indicates better ecological condition, but a higher Invasive Impact value indicates invasive plants are negatively impacting native plant communities.
    View a factsheet on LakeSPI for more information on these indicators.

    • LakeSPI
    • Native Condition
    • Invasive Impact
    LakeSPI history for Lake Tūtira

    What is this graph showing me?

    This graph is displaying the overall LakeSPI score over time. The results denote the ecological condition of the lake.

    Excellent ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 75-100%.
    High ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 50-75%.
    Moderate ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 20-50%.
    Poor ecological health. A LakeSPI score of 0-20%.
    Non-vegetated. A LakeSPI score of 0% (there are no plants present).
    No data available.
    LakeSPI history for Lake Tūtira data table
    Sample Date LakeSPI Status LakeSPI % Native Condition Index % Invasive Impact Index %
    LakeSPI information has been provided by NIWA.

Monitored sites on Lake Tūtira

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No sites found.