Hurunui River

The Hurunui River is the fourth largest of the four principal rivers in north Canterbury, New Zealand, with a catchment area of 2,670 square kilometres (1,030 sq mi).[1] The river flows from the eastern side of the Southern Alps, to the Pacific Ocean.

Some of the tributaries include the Jollie Brook, the Glenrae River and the Mandamus River. The north branch of the river flows through Lake Sumner. A hot pool has been constructed at the base of a small waterfall on a side stream of the river.

Hurunui River
Cyclist crossing the Hurunui River
A mountainbiker crossing the Hurunui River upstream of Lake Sumner
Hurunui River is located in New Zealand
Hurunui River
Location of the mouth within New Zealand
CountryNew Zealand
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationSouthern Alps
 ⁃ location
Pacific Ocean
 ⁃ elevation
sea level
Basin size2,670 km (1,660 mi)


The river has rapids rated class II and III on the International Scale of River Difficulty and is popular for kayaking.[2] The best whitewater is considered to be below the confluence of the north and south branches of the river in Maori Gully and in the Harwarden Gorge.[3]

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were introduced from California in the 1900s for game fishing.[4]

Water conservation order

On 30 August 2007, the New Zealand Fish and Game Council and the New Zealand Recreational Canoeing Association (now known as Whitewater NZ) lodged an application with the Ministry for the Environment for a Water Conservation Order to protect the Hurunui River.[5]

On 14 August 2009, the Special Tribunal considering the application recommended to the Minister that a conservation order be granted for the North Branch of the Hurunui River but not the South Branch.[6] On 2 September, Whitewater NZ lodged an appeal of the Tribunal's decision with the Environment Court in order to include the South Branch of the Hurunui River.[7]

Water project

The Hurunui Water Project has applied to Environment Canterbury, the regional council responsible for administering the river, for resource consents to dam the river and to take water for irrigation. The proposed scheme involves a weir that will raise the level of Lake Sumner, a dam and lake on the south branch of the river and an intake on the main stem of the river.[8]

In October 2009, the Hurunui Water Project said it would delay the processing of its applications for resource consents for up to a year so that the Canterbury Water Management Strategy could address the issue of water storage.[9] A march planned in Christchurch as a protest to the scheme still went ahead as scheduled two days after the announcement. As well as hundreds of protest marchers,[10] kayakers and fishers travelled down the Avon River.[11] Sam Mahon, a Canterbury-based artist concerned about water pollution, made a bust of Environment Minister Nick Smith out of dairy-cow dung in order to publicise the campaign to stop the Hurunui River from being dammed for irrigation.[12]

In February 2010 the Hurunui Water Project announced that it would reactivate the resource consent process.[13] On 16 November 2010, the Hurunui Water Project lodged a High Court appeal of Environment Canterbury's decision to make the damming of the Hurunui River a non-complying activity in the Canterbury Natural Resources Regional Plan.[14]

In September 2012 the public notification of resource consent recommenced. The scope includes the construction of four dams on the Waitohi river, extraction of up to 49.2 cubic metres per second (1,740 cu ft/s) of water from the main stem of the Hurunui river, extraction of up to 42.4 cubic metres per second (1,500 cu ft/s) from the Waitohi River, run-of-river hydro-power generation, and storage of 6.5 million cubic metres (5,300 acre⋅ft) of water in other dams on the plains. By comparison the existing flow of the Hurunui river is 53 cubic metres per second (1,900 cu ft/s) (mean) and low-flow of 16.8 cubic metres per second (590 cu ft/s). Submissions close 5 November 2012 at,CRC120695,CRC120691,CRC120696,CRC120692,CRC120694,CRC122547,CRC120675,CRC130467HurunuiWaterProjectLimited.aspx.

See also


  1. ^ Robert Logan, Waimakariri. The story of Canterbury's "river of cold rushing water". ISBN 0-473-00520-4, Robert Logan, Christchurch, 1987, page 6.
  2. ^ Whitewater NZ website, retrieved 23 July 2009.
  3. ^ Egarr, Graeme (1988). Whitewater: River Running in New Zealand. p. 208. ISBN 0-474-00302-7.
  4. ^ McDowall, R. M. (1990) New Zealand freshwater fishes: a natural history and guide. Heinemann-Reed, Auckland, 553 p.
  5. ^ Protection sought for Hurunui River Archived 23 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine New Zealand Fish and Game Council press release, 30 August 2007, retrieved 1 October 2007.
  6. ^ Report of Special Tribunal Archived 22 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Ministry for the Environment website, 2009-08-14, retrieved 2009-10-16. Or download from Whitewater NZ website, Or download from NZ Open Government Online Groups.
  7. ^ Appeal re Hurunui WCO, Whitewater NZ website, 2009-09-02, retrieved 2009-10-16.
  8. ^ Hurunui Water Project Archived 30 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Environment Canterbury website, 2009-08-13, retrieved 2009-10-16.
  9. ^ Marc Greenhill, Hurunui scheme on hold for up to year, The Press ( Media Ltd), 2009-10-15, retrieved 2009-10-16. Archived at WebCite
  10. ^ TV ONE NEWS (16 October 2009). "Hundreds protest Hurunui dam project". Television New Zealand. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
  11. ^ Williams, David (17 October 2009). "Protesters make waves over plan". The Press. Archived from the original on 19 October 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.
  12. ^ Jeff Hampton, Artist protests damage to environment with Nick Smith dung sculpture, TV3 News, 2009-10-29, retrieved 2009-10-30. Archived at WebCite.
  13. ^ Williams, David (1 February 2010). "Resource consent requests reactivated". The Press. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  14. ^ Duncan Cotterill (16 November 2010). "Notice of Appeal under S 66 of the Environment Canterbury (Temporary Commissioners and Improved Water Management) Act 2010" (PDF). Hurunui Water Project Limited. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2010.

External links

Media related to Hurunui River at Wikimedia Commons

  • - fishing information
  • [1] -Consent application
  • [2] - Canterbury Water Management Strategy Preliminary Strategic Assessment - Project 1: Integrated Hurunui-Waiau

Coordinates: 42°54′S 173°16′E / 42.900°S 173.267°E

Blythe River

The Blythe River is a river in Canterbury, New Zealand. It flows east for 13 kilometres (8 mi), reaching the Pacific Ocean 12 kilometres (7 mi) south of the town of Cheviot. The river's course roughly parallels that of the larger Hurunui River, which lies 5 kilometres (3 mi) to the north.

Canterbury Water Management Strategy

The Canterbury Water Management Strategy is being developed in Canterbury, New Zealand to address water related issues in the region.

It was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for the Environment and Environment Canterbury after a drought in 1998. Leadership for the strategy is from the Canterbury Mayoral Forum.The outcome of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy was given as the reason for the Hurunui Water Project to defer resource consent hearings for a year for water takes of the Hurunui River.


Culverden is a small town in the northern Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. In the 2013 New Zealand census, the town had a usually resident population of 426.

Glenrae River

The Glenrae River is a river in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. It arises in the Glynn Wye Range near Mount Skiddaw and flows through the Lake Sumner Forest Park south and then south-east into the Hurunui River, which exits in the Pacific Ocean. Its tributaries include Devils Creek and Robyne Creek.

Greta River

The Greta River is a river in the Hurunui District of New Zealand. It flows north-east into the Hurunui River, which runs into the Pacific Ocean south of Cheviot, New Zealand. State Highway 1 follows the river for part of its route between Cheviot and Waipara. The locality of Greta Valley is to the east of the Greta River on the banks of the Waikari River. The river was named by local runholders Sir Charles Clifford and Sir Frederick Weld in the 1850s after the Greta River in Yorkshire.

Grey County, New Zealand

Grey County was one of the counties of New Zealand in the South Island.

During the period 1853 to 1873, the area that would become Grey County was administered as parts of Nelson Province and Canterbury Province. From 1873 to 1876, the portions that had been administered by Canterbury Province were transferred to the newly created Westland Province. The overall area covered rural land and urban settlements, though the administrative authority for the urban area of Greymouth was transferred from Canterbury Province to the Greymouth Borough Council in 1868.The reason that the area that would become Grey County went across a provincial boundary was that the boundary had been set as a straight line from the head of the Hurunui River to Lake Brunner at a time when the area was virtually uninhabited, but the West Coast Gold Rush then straddled that boundary. In 1866, there was a failed proposal for portions of Canterbury Province, including the urban area of Greymouth and the rural area south to the Taramakau River, be annexed and solely administered by Nelson Province.With the Abolition of Provinces Act 1876, Grey County was created, taking over administration of its area in January 1877. The southern boundary of Grey County was the Taramakau River, and the maintenance of the bridge over the river was shared with Westland County. Grey County extended for 64 kilometres (40 mi) along the coast, and went inland as far as the great divide in the Southern Alps. The head of the local government administration was an elected chairman, with the county council's administrative headquarters located in Greymouth Borough.

Grey County existed until the 1989 local government reforms, when the Grey District was formed through the amalgamation of the administrative areas of Greymouth Borough and Grey County.

Hurunui District

Hurunui District is a political district on the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, north of Christchurch, New Zealand. It forms part of the Canterbury region and stretches from the east coast to the main divide. Its land area is 8,660.43 square kilometres (3,343.81 sq mi).

Kaiwara River

The Kaiwara River is a river of the northern South Island of New Zealand. The river is a tributary of the Hurunui River, its outflow being 17 kilometres (11 mi) southwest of Cheviot. The river flows initially east before turning southwest, twisting through a valley in the Lowry Peaks Range which lies between Cheviot and Culverden.

Lake Sumner

Lake Sumner, known as Hokakura in Māori, is a lake situated 100 km northwest of Christchurch in the Canterbury region of New Zealand. The lake is located in the Lake Sumner Forest Park; the Hurunui River and several other lakes (Loch Katrine, Lake Sheppard, Lake Taylor and Lake Mason) also lie within the park.

The Lake Sumner region is a popular area for hunting, tramping, trout fishing, whitewater kayaking, and mountainbiking. Several Department of Conservation tramping huts in the region make it a common destination for overnight trips; however, the area's comparatively remote location and difficult vehicle access mean it is seldom crowded.

Mandamus River

Mandamus River is a river in the South Island of New Zealand.The headwaters are on the southern side of the Organ Range and it feeds into the Hurunui River 25 kilometres (16 mi) due west of Culverden.

Manuka Bay

Manuka Bay is located on the North Canterbury East Coast, northeast of the Hurunui River in the South Island of New Zealand. It is near Napenape and the town of Cheviot.The area is a popular destination for people who are travelling from coast to coast. It has no toilets and camping is not permitted. It has no stores or gas stations.


Medbury is a rural locality in the Canterbury region of New Zealand's South Island. It is located just off State Highway 7 near the Hurunui River. There is no longer a significant population base forming a township, just rural properties.

On 15 December 1884, an extension of the railway line that ran to Waikari was opened to Medbury, and it remained the terminus for a little over a year before another extension was opened, this one to Culverden, on 8 February 1886. This line was envisaged as becoming the Main North Line to Nelson and Blenheim, but instead, a coastal route via Parnassus and Kaikoura was chosen. The line through Medbury had its furthest terminus in Waiau and it became known as the Waiau Branch. Medbury station had a loading bank, stockyards, and a water tank for steam locomotives, and a goods shed was installed in 1924. The station was closed due to low traffic in 1974, with the line's closure taking place on 15 January 1978. The goods shed still stands, relocated to a farmer's paddock. Paul Protheroe - my grandmother Neillie Macleod, formally Brooker was brought up in this area at the end of the 19th/early 20th century. The Brooker family were prominent in the area at that time and were stationed in Medbury, on a farm.

Mount Dixon (Mid Canterbury)

Mount Dixon is the 23rd highest peak in New Zealand, rising to a height of 3,019 metres (9,905 ft). It is located in the Southern Alps of the South Island, within Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, and only a short distance from its more illustrious neighbour Aoraki / Mount Cook. The mountain is a popular peak for climbers, and is used as a practice run for ascents of Cook.Mount Dixon was named by Noel Brodrick for the mountaineer, Marmaduke John Dixon (1862–1918).NOTE: The mountain should not be confused with Mount Dixon (North Canterbury), a lower peak of the same name close to the valley of the Hurunui River in North Canterbury, 100 kilometres (62 mi) to the north east.

Nelson Province

For the current top-level subdivision of Nelson in New Zealand, see Nelson, New ZealandNelson Province was constituted in 1853 under the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852, and originally covered the entire upper South Island, including all of present-day Buller, Kaikoura, Marlborough, and Tasman districts, along with Nelson City, Grey District north of the Grey River, and the Hurunui District north of the Hurunui River. It was reduced in size by the creation of Marlborough Province in November 1859, then abolished in 1876, along with all the provinces of New Zealand.

Pahau River

The Pahau River or Pahu River is a river of the north Canterbury Region of New Zealand's South Island. It has its origins in the Tekoa Range, 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Culverden, and flows initially north before turning south to flow down a long valley between two ridges. At the northern edge of the Canterbury Plains it turns southeast, flowing past the southern outskirts of Culverden to reach the Hurunui River 8 kilometres (5 mi) southeast of the town.

Seaward River

The Seaward River is a river in New Zealand's South Island. It flows northeast from its origins in north Canterbury's Puketeraki Range, reaching the Hurunui River 35 kilometres (22 mi) southwest of Culverden.

Sign of the Takahe

The Sign of the Takahe is today a cafe/Bar with casual dining with a unique wedding and function space, Built in the style of an English Manor House. Designed by J. G. Collins, construction was carried out between 1918 and 1948. The Takahe also provides one of the better panoramic views of the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps.

Named after the flightless native New Zealand bird, the Takahe, it was initially one of the roadhouses planned by Henry George (Harry) Ell as part of his scheme to preserve the natural state of the Port Hills which overlook Christchurch and Lyttelton harbour.

Ell had envisaged four roadhouses being built, and three were completed before Ell's death in 1934. These were Sign of the Kiwi, Sign of the Bellbird and Sign of the Packhorse.

However, Ell wished the Takahe to be a more substantial structure and spent years studying design of English Manors, castles and inns, to be incorporated into the final construction of the Takahe. Indeed, the dining room is an exact replica of the historic Haddon Hall in Derbyshire.

A great deal of improvisation was required to minimize cost. For example, the stone was quarried locally from the Port Hills and hand chiseled into blocks using primitive tools, the heavy Kauri beams in the entrance hall were salvaged from a former bridge over the Hurunui River and the ceilings in the inner most dining room were painted on timber cut from packing cases.

The building has a Category I listing with Heritage New Zealand.

Waitohi River

The Waitohi River is a river of the north Canterbury Region of New Zealand's South Island. It initially flows northeast from its origins in the Puketeraki Range 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of Lake Sumner before turning eastwards to reach the Hurunui River at the settlement of Hurunui.

Westland Province

The Westland Province was a province of New Zealand from 1873 until the abolition of provincial government in 1876. The capital was Hokitika.


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