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The Ruakaka township is within the Marsden Point airshed. The main contributors to air pollution in the Marsden Point airshed originate from industrial discharge, home heating, backyard burning in residential areas and agricultural emissions.

Marsden Point encompasses One Tree Point, Marsden Cove and Ruakaka communities as well as the Oil Refinery and NorthPort on the southern side of the Whangārei Harbour. The monitoring site in the Marsden Point airshed is located on Peter Snell Road at Bream Bay College, Ruakaka. The site is near Marsden Point Road, rural farmland and residential areas. Pollutant including particulate matter (PM10) is currently monitored at this site. The main source of air pollution originates from industrial discharge, home heating, backyard burning in residential areas and agricultural emissions. The airshed also contains two industrial point sources, including New Zealand’s only oil refinery, which is a significant source of sulphur dioxide (SO2) discharge in Northland. The prevailing wind in this area carries emission from the refinery towards Whangārei Heads, a largely rural residential area.

Town Summary
Air quality in this town

To date, particulate matter (PM10) concentration monitored in the Marsden Point airshed has complied with the National Environmental Standards (NES) for air quality. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) concentration was also previously monitored in the Whangārei Heads area and levels recorded were below the NES.

  • Population
  • Number of households

This information is collated from 2013 Census information. The census is the official count of how many people and dwellings there are in New Zealand. Census information is collated every five years.

Sources of air pollution

Home heating Industrial Outdoor burning Traffic Indoor sources Natural sources
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    Sources of PM10 emissions

    Source Annual percentage Winter day percentage
    Home heating Home heating {{summary.emissions.annualhome}}% {{summary.emissions.winterhome}}%
    Industrial Industrial {{summary.emissions.annualindustry}}% {{summary.emissions.winterindustry}}%
    Outdoor burning Outdoor burning {{summary.emissions.annualoutdoor}}% {{summary.emissions.winteroutdoor}}%
    Traffic Traffic {{summary.emissions.annualmotor}}% {{summary.emissions.wintermotor}}%
    Relative breakdown
    Winter day

    The table shows the proportions of the main sources of PM10 in this town from home heating, industrial activities, outdoor burning and traffic.  (Indoor sources and natural sources of air pollutants are not included in this breakdown). 

    These values come from 2013 data sourced from MfE’s data service.  Consistent methodology was used to calculate these estimates of PM10 emissions, which allows comparison between towns throughout New Zealand.  Some regional council published emissions information might differ if they were prepared in a different year or used another method. Contact your regional council for more information about PM10 and other emissions.

Seasonal variation

  • Show wind speed
  • Show temperature

Concentration (µg/m3)

Wind speed (km/h)

Air temperature (℃)

What is this graph showing me?

The graph shows the monthly average PM10 concentration at one representative site in this town for the year selected. In many towns in New Zealand, PM10 peaks in the winter when air temperatures and wind speeds are lowest as more people heat their homes during colder weather, and still conditions mean that there is no wind to disperse the air pollutants.

Sites 1
Monitored sites in Ruakaka

Monitored sites in this town can be categorised according to location:

  • Residential: Air monitoring site is in a suburban area with a relatively high population density, but not close to a busy road or industry.
  • Traffic: Air monitoring site is very close to a busy road or intersection.
  • Industry: Air monitoring site is close to industry, including heavy commercial and processing factories.
  • Coastal: Air monitoring site is close to the coast where there are high levels of sea salt in the air.
  • NES: A site monitored for compliance with the National Environmental Standards for Air Quality (NES-AQ).

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