The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) recently released “league tables” comparing freshwater quality across 77 sites monitored nationwide.

In Hawke’s Bay, the rivers monitored are the Tukituki, Ngaruroro and Mohaka.

Closest to me is the measuring site at the Red Bridge (where Waimarama Road crosses the Tuki on the way to Waimarama/Ocean Beach).

At that site, the Tukituki falls in the bottom half of all rivers on virtually every measure — nutrients in the water, biological river water quality, and recreational suitability.

Nutrients — overall rank, 51 of 77 (higher number equals poorer quality), and 67 of 77 on nitrates and 61 of 77 on total nitrogen. The problem here is upstream farm run-off. Download nutrient league table here.

Biological quality (presence of microorganisms and algae) — 56 of 66 measured. Download biological league table here.

Recreational quality — overall, 30 of 76; but e-coli rank is 39 of 76. Download recreational quality league table here.

In short, heaps of clean-up needed.

Tom Belford

P.S. Unfortunately, for this program, the Mohaka and Ngaruroro are not monitored where the pollution would be at its worst.

Join the Conversation


  1. For past 37 years since arrival and catching my first trout on the evening rise to a multi May fly hatch on the Tuki immediately downstream of the Red Bridge identified in the posting on opening day Oct 1st 1973 I have watched the Tuki and Mohaka iconic rivers being degraded befor my eyes.

    Both were consistantly in the top 10 world ranked free access fisheries 40 years ago.

    A handfull of fishermen most from offshore then who had witnessed the same happen in Britain and Scandinavia too trout and salmon fisheries started blowing the whistle before 1989 Local Authorities restructuring that gave birth to Regional Councils.

    2 years prior to the 1989 legislatin Local Acclimatisation Societies were discarded at

    the stroke of a pen and replaced with the Government controlled Fish & Game via DoC.

    Acclimatisation Societies created the world class fisheries in the 1860's to 1880s by importing ova from Tasmania and the UK.

    The peoples voice was muted by what some including me saw as part of a hidden Agenda of water exploitation and land use changes.

    1980's top dressing poured nitrogen onto cleared land in the mid to upper catchments like there was no tomorrow with increasing water takes and substandard waste water discharges to rivers compounding that.

    It is sad to have been witness to what we now have to have been dismissed as scaremongering imports 25 years ago.

    Public money is being poured into a bottom less pit created by antiquated governance.

    This election wont change that.

  2. Just thanking you for keeping us all informed on the state of our rivers. Not sure just what I can do, but I'll work on it. Also goodluck in the up coming elections. Cheers Jenny

  3. The much vaulted proposed sewage pond upgrade in CHB .

    I understand even after this proposed upgrade for 2013 we will still have continued discharge in to the Tukituki River system in the Winter Months of high water flow , surely all the Bay's Politicians Local , Regional, and MP'S could get together and put a system in place that stops discharge into the Tukituki and act save this beautiful River before its lost for ever.

    As the Ministry for the Environment recent league tables show its already in a poor state , and the added pressures of sewage discharge Human and the growth of the dairy industry, low water flows because unsustainable irrigation .

    The future is not bright

  4. What HBRC and CHBDC are proposing to do with the substandard sewage discharges into the Tuki system is unprepared for substandard low enegy treatment.

    It will not remove metals or chemicals that sewage and fertilizers contain that are collectively called Endoctrine Disablement Chemicals (EDC's)

    These cause less tolerant invertibrate count changes (Mayfly's)and increased occurances of toxic algea blooms that reduce soluble oxygen.

    In recent years there have been inevitable mature trout kills in mid to late summer.

    Fungal growth associated with these is from secondary infection after the liver and interal organs are damaged by the chemical cocktail that destroys fish natural imune system much like long term smoking. If found this summer call me and I will have it tested


    The only way to remove metals and EDC's during threatment of wastewaters is by costly high energy advanced treatment.

    What is proposed is low energy bio treament long since replaced in many Western Countries

    I was doing that as a young contractor in Kent and Sussex in the 1960's becase they were causing what they are in the Tuki.

    See Online UK- "2007 Energy and Sewage"

    This is a compact enlightening 4 page report by the UK Ministry of Science and Technology.

    Page 3 "Test case Asford Kent" and page 4 Endoctrine Disablement Chemical's (EDC's)say

    it all.

    The more who read it and ask please explain the more likely the powers will rethink the PR patch up they are embarking on with the HDC plant hanging around like a bad smell.

    The Page 3 study has relevant comment on bio systems not being proven at Ashford's loadings.

    Ashford has 2 plants serving 60,000. Hastings has 1 serving 75,00O with no sludge removal.

    I can find no other bio system in the world doing that.

    Spending millions on unproven technology is whatever BB readers care to call it as was the consent to continue substandard discharges to the Tuki for a further 12 years when consents expired in 2002. I presented submissions to that on behalf of a fishermens group. The outcome was predetermined.

    That is when HBRC money input should have occured not after inevitable rapid degrading compounded by unsustainable water takes and land use like the upper Mohaka

    Incredulously HDC and NCC have been allowed to do likewise in the sea after consents lapsed.

    It should be hot election issues in all of the Authority areas mentioned. What have voters got to say who pay?

  5. Obviously something needs to be done and the authorities are not listening or paying lip service to the concerns raised.

    There is power in numbers especially if they are organised and focused.

    Is there a local action group I can join?

    Sax Dearing

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