Search all sites near me now
Search your favourite swimming spots

Tukituki River

The Tukituki catchment is one of the larger catchments in Hawke’s Bay covering approx 2500 km². The Tukituki River flows north from southern central Hawke’s Bay 80 km into the Pacific Ocean near Haumoana south of Napier. The mean annual flow is 43.848 cumecs at Red Bridge in the lower end of the catchment.

The largest tributary of the Tukituki is the Waipawa, draining the Ruahine Ranges north of the Tukituki; also in the north the Mangaonuku flows into the Tukituki draining the Wakarara Ranges. Joining the Tukituki from the south are the Tukipo, Makaretu, Porangahau and Mangatarata while the Maharakeke drains the Turiri Range. These tributaries join the Tukituki after flowing across the Ruataniwha plains, the central part of the catchment.
The upper catchment of the Tukituki is dominated by greywacke. From the foothills of the Ruahines towards the lower catchment, the Tukituki flows mainly through sandstone and mudstone, but with some areas of limestone in the central catchment area. The soils of the Ruataniwha Plains are a diverse patchwork of 29 different soils ranging from heavy clays to gravels, from shallow to deep, and from waterlogged to excessively drained.

The headwaters and upper catchment in the Ruahine ranges are in native forest, and in native shrub and tussock above the tree line. The rest of the catchment has some areas of exotic forestry, hill country sheep and beef farming, and on the Ruataniwha plains the traditional pastoral agriculture is giving way to widespread intensive dairy farming, viticulture, horticulture, and cropping. On the eastern edge of the Ruataniwha Plains the river flows past two urban centres, Waipukurau and Waipawa. The discharge from the municipal sewage treatment plant discharges into the Tukituki and Waipawa Rivers. Initiatives are underway, with both the Regional Council and CHB District Council to develop land based treatment and disposal.

In the lower end of the catchment there is more viticulture and horticulture, with a larger number of small farm blocks and vineyards, and a small coastal settlement Haumoana at the river mouth. Substantial intensification of agricultural sector has lead to a significant increase in irrigation demand.

The Tukituki catchment supports a wide range of fish species, including many native fish. The threatened longfin eel and the koaro (which is rare in the Hawke’s Bay region) can be found in the Tukituki River. Several species of bullies are present in the catchment - the common bully, crans bully, giant bully, redfinned bully, upland bully and the bluegilled bully. Other native fish are the patiki (black flounder), shortfin eel, smelt, torrentfish, and galaxids like the dwarf galaxid and inanga, plus the koura, New Zealand’s native freshwater crayfish. Marine fish such as the grey mullet and yelloweye mullet are present in the catchment. There are significant populations of brown and rainbow trout, and the spawn in a number of tributaries, and trout populations in the catchment are self sustaining.

Sites 13

Monitored sites in the Tukituki River catchment

...retrieving sites.

No sites found.

Show more
Scientific Indicators
Scientific data for this catchment

This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils for water quality indicators, analysed as state and trend.

The state for the catchment is represented by the median concentration for the parameter across all sites within the catchment and then compares that value to the quartiles for all monitored sites in New Zealand.

Click on the parameters state icons to compare this catchment with others in the region.

  • State

    State shows how the median of samples from this site compares to other sites

  • Trend

    Trend shows how the quality of water is changing over time. Depending on the sampling history duration, five and ten year timescales are available:

Can I trust this data?

The Cawthron Institute has worked alongside regional councils to verify the processes and methods used for data collection, laboratory analysis of samples collected and the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results presented.

If all Cawthron ticks are green, then you can trust this data. However, if one or more ticks are orange, then conclusions should be treated with some caution.

For more details on each tick, see our 'Can I Trust This Data?' Factsheet.

Can I trust the data?
Data Collection

All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories. Therefore the data shown here has been collected and analysed following best practice.


All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories.

Trend - Adjustment for flow

This data is not flow adjusted. National guidelines suggest that flow-sensitive variables are flow 'adjusted' before trend analysis. Therefore, any trends shown here may be affected by variations in flow across sampling occasions.


E. coli



Black disc





Total Nitrogen


Total Oxidised Nitrogen


Ammoniacal Nitrogen



Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus


Total Phosphorus

Download Data

.ZIP file of indicator readings for all sites in New Zealand

 LAWA Partners shall not be liable, whether in contract, tort, equity or otherwise, for any loss or damage of any type (including consequential losses) arising directly or indirectly from the inadequacy, inaccuracy or any other deficiency in information supplied irrespective of the cause.  Use of information supplied is entirely at the risk of the recipient and shall be deemed to be acceptance of this liability exclusion.