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Awhea River

The Awhea River is located in the south eastern Wairarapa and flows in a southeasterly direction before discharging to the sea at Tora. 

The river is home to many native fish and bird species, including the banded dotteral, inanga and longfin eels. It also supports significant historical and cultural values. Pā sites have been recorded within close proximity to the Awhea River, with evidence of occupation dating back to 700 years ago.

Greater Wellington Regional Council monitor the environmental health at one location in the lower reaches of the Awhea River. Recreational water quality monitoring is not carried out in the river.

Pasture is the dominant landuse around the Awhea River catchment, and the edges of the estuary have been greatly modified by farming and grazing. However, other shrubby exotic species are present and a significant area of wetland exists near the river mouth.  

The geology in this area is largely soft sediments such as mudstone and siltstone, which causes the surrounding land to be prone to soil erosion. This results in high sediment loads being transported into the river and carried downstream to the estuary

The river is also naturally subjected to extended periods of low flow during summer, which can lead to high water temperatures. These conditions often lead to extensive growth of nuisance algae. 

Sites 1

Monitored sites in the Awhea River catchment

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Scientific Indicators
Scientific data for this catchment

This dashboard shows information on the data collected by the regional councils for water quality indicators, analysed as state and trend.

The state for the catchment is represented by the median concentration for the parameter across all sites within the catchment and then compares that value to the quartiles for all monitored sites in New Zealand.

Click on the parameters state icons to compare this catchment with others in the region.

  • State

    State shows how the median of samples from this site compares to other sites

  • Trend

    Trend shows how the quality of water is changing over time. Depending on the sampling history duration, five and ten year timescales are available:

Can I trust this data?

The Cawthron Institute has worked alongside regional councils to verify the processes and methods used for data collection, laboratory analysis of samples collected and the statistical analysis and interpretation of the results presented.

If all Cawthron ticks are green, then you can trust this data. However, if one or more ticks are orange, then conclusions should be treated with some caution.

For more details on each tick, see our 'Can I Trust This Data?' Factsheet.

Can I trust the data?
Data Collection

All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories. Therefore the data shown here has been collected and analysed following best practice.


All samples were collected using approved field protocols and have been analysed in accredited laboratories.

Trend - Adjustment for flow

This data is not flow adjusted. National guidelines suggest that flow-sensitive variables are flow 'adjusted' before trend analysis. Therefore, any trends shown here may be affected by variations in flow across sampling occasions.


E. coli



Black disc





Total Nitrogen


Total Oxidised Nitrogen


Ammoniacal Nitrogen



Dissolved Reactive Phosphorus


Total Phosphorus

Download Data

.ZIP file of indicator readings for all sites in New Zealand

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