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Mohaka River

The Mohaka River is the Hawke’s Bay region’s second largest river with a catchment area of 2,444 square kilometres. The headwaters originate in the Kaweka Ranges and the river flows approximately 124 km to the Pacific Ocean at Mohaka Settlement, 22 km south-west of Wairoa. This 7th order river has a mean annual flow of 78.061 cumecs measured at Raupunga in the lower catchment.


In December 2010 an agreement between the Government and Ngati Pahauwera was signed on the marae at Mohaka. It includes a package involving Mohaka River protection and reinforcement of a Water Conservation Order imposed by the Crown in 2004.

The headwaters of the catchment have a cool, wet climate and are in hill country with volcanic, acidic geology. Land-use is a mix of pastoral farming and forestry, both indigenous and exotic. The lower reaches have a warm, wet climate and land-use is predominately pastoral farming. 

The river has good quality habitat for most of its length with regular riffles, pools and bends and a predominantly large cobble or cobble streambed. Riparian margins are well-protected in the upper reaches with few breaks or signs of erosion. The lower reaches have less riparian protection and patches of stream bank erosion.

The Mohaka supports many native fish species including longfin eel, shortfin eel, inanga, common smelt, koaro, koura, banded kokopu, patiki (black flounder), torrentfish, Cran’s bully, common bully blue gill bully, and redfin bully. It also has a world class rainbow and brown trout fishery that is considered regionally significant.

Sites 12

Monitored sites in the Mohaka River catchment

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