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About the Surface Water Flows Project 

Aqua Intel Aotearoa (AIA) is working with Ngāti Porou and Gisborne District council (GDC) to learn more about surface water flows and groundwater in the north of Tairāwhiti - including Te Araroa, Waiapu, and Tolaga Bay. This information will help us to make better decisions about how we protect and use our land and water, in order to improve the wellbeing of our wai, our whenua, and our whanau. The project is funded by the NZ Government through AIA.

AIA is working with Ngāti Porou and GDC to determine the priority locations for surface water monitoring and groundwater drilling sites, taking into account Ngāti Porou views on priorities for development of Māori owned land, including Waiomatatini and Makarika.

Surface water monitoring

GDC is interested in filling gaps in its existing surface water monitoring network. GDC currently monitors water flow and water quality at a number of sites. This project will gather additional information from new sites in the vicinity of Hicks Bay, Te Araroa, Ruatoria, and Tolaga Bay.

Groundwater drilling

The aim of groundwater drilling is to understand more about what water resources lie under the ground in aquifers. Aquifers are areas of natural underground water storage where water flows into the ground between rocks and sediment. In this project monitoring wells will be drilled in Makarika, Whakapourangi and Waiomatatini, and potentially Te Araroa in Summer 2022-23. We estimate that each bore will take about a week to drill. Actual time taken will be subject to weather and drilling conditions.

Where will the drilling sites be located?

AIA and GDC scientists have broadly identified the areas where we want to gather information. We are now working with land owners to find specific drilling sites.

Ideal sites will have good access for the drilling rig (e.g., suitable track/road, gentle/flat slope) and ongoing monitoring. Meanwhile, the sites will be chosen to avoid damage and allow long-term land use.

Who will monitor the sites?

GDC staff will monitor the site/s on behalf of AIA for two years during the information-gathering phase of the project. Beyond the AIA project, the monitoring equipment will remain in place and be monitored by GDC. The sites will be visited monthly.

What will this information tell us?

We will better understand surface water flows (the amount of water flowing in streams and rivers) and groundwater in our aquifers. The information will help us understand about how much water is available for use, and will be used to:

  • help find locations for accessing drinking water; 

  • fill gaps in tangata whenua, GDC, and landowner knowledge about water and guide decisions on water use; and

  • better understand quantities of water potentially available to support land development.

Who will have access to the data?

  • Māori and landowners to inform decisions on water use.

  • GDC to guide planning and decision making around water allocation policies and resource consenting.

  • Scientific community to understand geology and groundwater resources. 

Data governance protocols will be developed with tangata whenua and GDC to ensure data is held and used appropriately.

These projects align with the principles of Te Mana o Te Wai. Tangata whenua and GDC will use the information to find out how much water can be used to sustain people and develop land, meanwhile supporting the health and wellbeing of the water.

How to find out more

  • Email us:

  • Download a factsheet about the project: 

  • Send an enquiry via the contact form below.


Surface water monitoring and Groundwater Drilling

New surface water monitoring equipment will be installed at three sites on the Maraehara, Waiomoko, and Pakarae Rivers in Spring 2022. Additional monitoring will also take place in existing sites at Hicks Bay, Te Araroa, Ruatoria, and Tolaga Bay.

Groundwater monitoring wells will be drilled in Makarika, Whakapourangi and Waiomatatini, and potentially Te Araroa in Summer 2022-23.

Get in touch with Aqua Intel Aotearoa to learn more about our projects or ask a question.

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