Rivers

Latest news

A new study has identified seven freshwater species native to Aotearoa-New Zealand that will likely be highly or very highly vulnerable to climate change.
Under the light of the moon where the river meets the sea, NIWA researchers are planning to catch tiny fish that are all but invisible to the naked eye.
It may be rubbish to everyone else, but to Amanda Valois each little scrap of plastic on a river bank or in a waterway tells a valuable story.
Christchurch’s Red Zone is to be the focal point of a scientific experiment involving street lights and insects over summer. 

Our work

Maniapoto Māori Trust Board and NIWA worked collaboratively during 2018-19 to support Ngāti Maniapoto whānau to reconnect with and participate in the assessment of their freshwater according to their values.
Currently there are gaps in understanding of user decision making processes and public needs and requirements for river forecasting in New Zealand. This project aims to bridge NIWA river forecasting aspirations and capabilities with both the public and decision makers’ requirements.
The ability to properly manage our freshwater resources requires a solid understanding of the flora and fauna which live in and interact with them.
The alp-fed braided rivers of Canterbury are treasured for their landscape, recreational amenities, salmon- and trout-fishing, and unique riverine environments – which provide habitat to a host of endangered birds – but they are under threat from land-use intensification and a growing demand for irrigation water.

Latest videos

The world's most mysterious fish

A video about The world's most mysterious fish. NIWA researchers are working with iwi to try to unlock the secrets of New Zealand tuna—freshwater eels. Every year tiny, glass eels wash in on the tide at river mouths along our coast. But where do they come from and how do they get there?

 

Overview of SHMAK
How healthy is your stream? SHMAK—the New Zealand Stream Health Monitoring and Assessment Kit—has been designed to help you find out.
A day out measuring at Molesworth
A day out measuring at Molesworth
Modelling vegetation-impacted morphodynamics in braided rivers
NIWA is developing numerical models for predicting how the morphology of braided rivers responds to flow regulation and invasive exotic woody vegetation.

Freshwater Update 79 brings you the latest information from our Freshwater & Estuaries Centre, with articles ranging from NIWA working with NASA; restoring a stream catchment in Kaikōura; looking after urban water; keeping soil and reducing sedimentation; to culling catfish.

‘Swimmability’ of New Zealand rivers

Swimming is a popular activity in Aotearoa-New Zealand. Two attributes of waters that strongly affect aesthetic quality and safety for swimming are visual clarity and faecal contamination. It turns out that these two attributes are fairly well-correlated (inversely) in New Zealand rivers, such that (easily seen) visual clarity provides a rough-but-useful guide to (unseen) microbial quality.
On the bottom of New Zealand’s largest freshwater springs is an underwater garden of vivid green, pinks and inky blues.
The New Zealand Fish Passage Guidelines sets out recommended practice for the design of instream infrastructure to provide for fish passage.
Freshwater Update 76 brings you the latest information from our Freshwater & Estuaries Centre, with articles ranging from spring and river water condition to urban waters, didymo and aquatic plant scientists.
As the road behind Hanmer Springs turns to gravel and a dust cloud forms in the rear vision mirror, the southern edge of Molesworth Station unfolds.
A day out measuring at Molesworth
A day out measuring at Molesworth
NIWA is undertaking a five-year nationwide study to find out how different approaches to riparian planting influence water quality improvements and to provide better guidance to the people and groups undertaking stream restoration.
Returning water to our waterways after we’ve used it in our homes, on farms and in industry is a complex and challenging process.
NIWA's Freshwater and Estuaries Chief Scientist Dr John Quinn believes the dairy industry has been responsive in the tools it has adopted to reduce its impact on waterways.
NIWA discusses, in depth, this year's most asked question—what is happening to our fresh waterways?

NIWA is doing a nationwide study to discover what makes the best riparian projects. Help us give you the knowledge to make the best riparian management decisions possible by taking our 5 minute survey.

NZ river maps

This is an interactive web-based application being developed for exploring national scale predictions of a suite of river environmental variables, including water quality, hydrology, bed sediment size, invertebrate metrics, fish presence and bed sediment cover.

Modelling vegetation-impacted morphodynamics in braided rivers
NIWA is developing numerical models for predicting how the morphology of braided rivers responds to flow regulation and invasive exotic woody vegetation.

NIWA is developing numerical models for predicting how the morphology of braided rivers responds to flow regulation and invasive exotic woody vegetation.

Tools and software to assist with determining and managing environmental water flows.

New Zealand’s freshwater and estuarine resources provide significant cultural, economic, social, and environmental benefits. Competition for the use of these resources is intensifying, and many rivers, lakes and estuaries are now degraded. Māori are particularly sensitive to the use and development of freshwater, and hold distinct perspectives concerning their identity, knowledge, and custodial obligations to manage tribal waters.

This research project investigated whether the mechanisms for periphyton removal in rivers relate more directly to hydraulic and geomorphic conditions than flow metrics.
Once you have identified the problem, and applied the necessary tools for restoring kōura to your stream, the next phase of your project is to monitor the site to see whether restoration works.
The tools available for restoring kōura to lakes and streams depend on what is causing kōura to decline.

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All staff working on this subject

Hydro-ecological Modeller
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Freshwater Hydro-Ecologist
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Riparian and Wetland Scientist
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Land and Water Scientist
Assistant Regional Manager - Christchurch
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
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Hydrology Scientist
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Environmental Monitoring Technician
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Coastal Technician
Freshwater Fish Ecologist
Environmental Monitoring Technician
Hydrodynamics Scientist
Resource Management Scientist
Regional Manager - Auckland
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Environmental Scientist
Algal Ecologist
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