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Motueka River

The Motueka River starts in alpine headwaters and flows 110 kilometres from source to the sea. It delivers more than 60% of the freshwater inflow to Tasman Bay.

The river is braided in the approximately 10 km segment between Kohatu and the Wangapeka River and is used by river-nesting birds such as oystercatchers, black-billed gulls, banded dotterels and pied stilts. This reach was used by black-fronted terns, but these birds have not been seen nesting here since the 1990s, probably due to predators. Only about 45 km of Tasman’s rivers are braided.

The Motueka catchment has a Water Conservation Order protecting trout angling and blue duck values, as well as recreation and wild and scenic values.

Kahurangi National Park is on the west side of the catchment with the mountainous area capturing and channelling high levels of rainfall into the catchment. Historically heavy rainfall events have brought significant quantities of trees and debris into the rivers. The Motueka township’s proximity to the river has resulted in the construction of a system of stopbanks for flood protection.

The Motueka River feeds a large aquifer under the township of Motueka (population 7,000). The town’s water supply, including small private bores, draw water from the aquifer.

Sites 7

Monitored sites in the Motueka River catchment

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