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Wellington Region


From the rocky southern coast to the sandy shores of Kapiti, the Wellington Region boasts almost 500 kilometres of coastline.  The Wellington coastline supports a variety of habitat types, including sandy beaches, rocky shores and over 90 estuaries. These areas support tourism, recreation and food gathering, and are valued for their natural biodiversity.

The recreational quality of the rivers is monitored weekly between the months of November and February at 61 popular coastal sites throughout the region.

The recreational water quality monitoring programme is a joint effort involving the local councils including the Kāpiti Coast District Council, Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council and Regional Public Health.

The safety of water (in terms of human health) is determined by measuring the indicator bacteria Enterococci to find out whether water is contaminated by faecal material. Warning signs are erected if national guidelines are breached, unless the result follows heavy rainfall. This is because heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and agricultural areas into coastal waters and we strongly advise you do not swim for at least two days after heavy or prolonged rainfall, even if a site generally has good water quality.

Pressures on coastal water quality in the Wellington Region range from the build-up of sediment and stormwater contaminants to more global pressures such as sea level rise and the spread of invasive species. In some areas, the accumulation of nutrients promotes the growth of nuisance algae, which can decrease the recreational value of a site.

Overall, the coastal water quality in the Wellington Region is generally very good. Winter results are often poorer, but this is largely related to an increase in heavy rain which flushes contaminents from rural and urban areas into coastal waters.


Monitored beaches in the Wellington Region

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