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Whangārei

Whangārei is the largest urban area in Northland. The main contributors to air pollution in the Whangārei airshed originate from domestic home heating, vehicle emissions and local industrial emissions.

The Whangārei airshed covers the Whangārei urban area and includes a population of around 50,000. The geographical extent of the airshed is limited by elevated terrain to the north, south and west due to Whangārei being situated at the head of a drowned river valley. The eastern boundary extends part way down the harbour and includes the Onerahi peninsula. The monitoring site is located on Robert Street, situated between two main roads in the city. The site is surrounded by commercial areas and adjacent residential suburbs. Particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 are currently monitored at this site. The major contributors to the Whāngārei airshed are a mixture of domestic home heating, vehicle emission, backyard burning and local industries.

Town Summary
Air quality in this town

Particulate matter (PM10) concentration at this site tends to increase during winter night time inversion conditions and occasionally approaches or exceeds the National Environmental Standards (NES) for air quality. Sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations recorded between July 2010 and June 2016 at Robert Street were below the NES. Monitoring of SO2 and CO was discontinued from July 2016.

  • Population
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  • Number of households
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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
    Annual
    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

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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 Whangārei

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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