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  • Why this status?

    Click here for detailed information on water quality monitoring

    The science

    Water quality information

    LAWA shows the best available water quality information to help you to decide where to swim.  The  water quality of swimming sites in the Wellington region is determined by predictive models and water quality monitoring.

    Predicted risk status

    Current E. coli status

    Water quality test result

    Latest Toxic Algae result

    The current risk status for this site combines the predicted risk for E. coli and the latest toxic algae monitoring result.


    Heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways and we advise you not to swim for 2 – 3 days after heavy or prolonged rain – even at sites that generally have good water quality. Check that the water is clean and clear before taking a dip.

    Conditions may have changed

    There has been significant rain since this site was last sampled. This may have affected the water quality at this site.

    Potentially toxic algae can rapidly bloom to harmful levels, and not all freshwater sites are monitored for toxic algae. Play it safe — if you can see toxic algal blooms in rivers or lakes, avoid contact or choose another site to swim.

    What do the icons mean?

    Suitable for swimming – The current predicted or monitored result is that this site has a low health risk and is likely to meet national water quality guidelines for swimming.
    Caution advised – The current prediction is that this site has a low health risk, however the predicted risk is slightly elevated so there may be an increased risk of illness for young children and older people. If potentially toxic algae blooms are present, avoid contact.
    Unsuitable for swimming – The current predicted or monitored result indicates that this site has a high health risk and is unlikely to meet national water quality guidelines for swimming.
    Not available – Data temporarily unavailable.

    Summer season monitoring history

    The water quality monitoring results are shown in the graph(s) below.  Here you can see how often this site met swimming water quality guidelines at the time of sampling.  The latest monitoring result shown may differ from the predicted risk status displayed, this is because the predicted risk status takes into account other factors such as the amount of rain forecast to provide today's risk status.

    • Samples this season
    • Samples from last 5 years
    E. coli sampling graph
    • View as graph
    • View as donut
    Toxic Algae sampling graph

    Long-term grade information

    Long-term grade based on five years of data
    Minimum data points required 50 Highest E. coli per 100ml value {{riskData.maxValue | number:0}}
    Number of data points available {{riskData.dataPoints | number:0}} Lowest E. coli per 100ml value {{riskData.minValue | number:0}}
    Hazen 95th percentile result {{riskData.hazenResult}} Long-term grade

    What do the long-term grade icons mean?

    Excellent – The estimated risk of Campylobacter infection has a <0.1% occurrence, 95% of the time.
    95th percentile of E. coli / 100 mL is <= 130.
    Good – The estimated risk of Campylobacter infection has a 0.1 - 1% occurrence, 95% of the time.
    95th percentile of E. coli / 100 mL is > 130 and <= 260.
    Fair – The estimated risk of Campylobacter infection has a 1 - 5% occurrence, 95% of the time.
    95th percentile of E. coli / 100 mL is > 260 and <= 540.
    National bottom line: 95th percentile: 540
    Poor – The estimated risk of Campylobacter infection has a >5% occurrence, at least 5% of the time.
    95th percentile of E. coli / 100 mL is > 540.
    Not available – There were not enough data to determine the long-term grade at this site.
  • What about my dog?

    Information about toxic algae

    Dog owners

    Keeping your dog safe and healthy this summer

    A trip to the river is a lot of fun and knowing how to keep your dog safe means you are able to relax and enjoy the adventure even more. Potentially toxic algae can be harmful to dogs (and us) – this section shows you what to look for.

    Toxic algae from Cawthron Institute on Vimeo.


    What to do

    •  The best thing you can do to keep yourself, your kids and your dog safe is to know what potentially toxic algae looks like and avoid it. 

    • If you are not sure, keep your dog on a lead at a stony river, and don’t let them in or near the water.  Bring water from home for your dog so that they don’t need to drink out of the river.

    What is potentially toxic algae?

    Freshwater algae are naturally occurring in rivers and lakes in New Zealand, including waterways with good water quality. Most algae is harmless, if a bit slimy – but one group of algae, known scientifically as cyanobacteria, can be toxic.  In rivers, this potentially toxic algae is also known as Phormidium.  Most of the year it is present at low levels that are not much of a danger.  But it can be a problem during the summer months, when low rainfall, warm temperatures and more sunlight create an environment where it can thrive.  In parts of stony-based rivers it can form extensive mats which can be toxic to humans, dogs, livestock and wildlife. 

    Scientists do not yet understand when and why this algae turns toxic, so to be safe, always treat it as toxic.

    Dogs are particularly susceptible to poisoning from toxic algae as they love to scavenge and play near water. 

    What to look for

    In parts of stony based rivers toxic algae form soft, leathery-looking mats on rocks in the riverbed.  These mats range in colour  from blackish/brown to dark green (it's quite different from normal harmless green algae, which looks bright green and often forms long strings).

    These mats can come loose and wash up on the edge of the rivers, or form ‘floating rafts’ in shallow areas.  As they dry out they turn light brown or white and look like dried leaves or cowpats. They produce a strong musty smell, and this is when it poses the biggest risk to our dogs, as they love the smell and many dogs will try to eat it if they get the chance.

    Council staff monitor for these mats in parts of rivers where these are known to form at popular swim sites.  Staff are not able to monitor all parts of rivers, so please learn what to look for to keep your dog safe, and alert your regional or unitary council when you see algal mats so they can warn other people.

    What if my dog has eaten potentially toxic algae?

    If you suspect that your dog has eaten toxic algae, you should contact your vet as soon as possible.  Signs a dog has been poisoned by toxic algae include lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, twitching, paralysis and convulsions.

    Find out more about potentially toxic algae here

  • What's at this site?

    Find out all recreational activities and facilities at this site

    Activities & facilities

    Site suitable for these activities and has these facilities

    Our lakes, rivers, and beaches are great natural playgrounds but they can be unpredictable.  Be aware of other potential risks such as rips, strong currents, sudden drop offs, or underwater objects before jumping in.  LAWA recommends that you avoid swimming for 2 - 3 days after heavy rainfall and follow the advice of any warning signs in place.


    Dog walking
    Check the rules


    Picnic area
    Car parking

How do I get there?

Ruamāhanga River