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Waikawa Bay

Waikawa estuary is a small, shallow river delta-type estuary in Waikawa Bay in Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound. The estuary is highly modified and originally encompassed the entire head of Waikawa Bay. It has been reduced to a third of its natural extent due to land reclamation and the construction of the Waikawa marina.

Despite this, Waikawa estuary retains many ecological values with a large area of seagrass and a good diversity of shellfish.

There is limited salt marsh vegetation around the estuary due to seawalls and sea defences. The foreshore has been the site of a recent restoration project to return estuarine plants to the area.

Estuary summary

What makes my estuary unique?

Explore the characteristics of this estuary


Estuary characteristics

  • Total area
    2.8 hectares
  • Total shoreline length
    0.5 km

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 1

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