Topic: Dune Lakes and Lagoons of the Horowhenua

topic type:

The largest two freshwater dune lakes in Horowhenua are Lake Horowhenua and Lake Papaitonga (formerly Lake Waiwiri). Smaller dune lakes include Waitawa, Kopureherehere and Rotopotakataka - all in the Forest Lakes area (north of Otaki).From Adkin's book: Horowhenua, 1948

In addition to these dune lakes, Adkin identified many lagoons - some of which had ceased to exist by 1948. It is hard to work out which lagoons still exist today.

Name & Size  Picture Location & GPS  Description                 Other Name Streams out Streams in

Lake Horowhenua

3.9 sq km

2km west of Levin



The lake, also known as Punahau, lies on a sandy plain two kilometres to the west of Levin and five kilometres from the coast of the Tasman Sea.

It is a shallow lake, only some two metres in depth, fed by various small streams, and is drained by the Hokio Stream.

Punahau Hokio Stream Mangaroa Stream
Pa Drain
Patiki Stream (or ‘Kawiu Drain’)
Domain Drain
Queen St Drain
Arawhata Stream.

Lake Horowhenua - 2013

Probing the water Horowhenua Chronicle 26 April 2013
In April 2013, a team of scientists from Waikato University undertook a pest fish monitoring programme.
 A perch caught by scientists in Lake Horowhenua last week as part of a monitoring exercise
A medium-sized perch caught in Lake Horowhenua
The results were reported in the local press - read here.      

Lake Papaitonga

61.8 ha














Replanting project at Lake Waiwiri






Have a look at this YouTube video

South of Lake Horowhenua



A tranquil dune lake in the Horowhenua coastal plain,Lake Papaitonga is a dune lake in the Horowhenua coastal plain.

The lake contains two islands, Motukiwi (Papaitonga) and Motungarara (Papawhaerangi). The latter is an artificial island constructed by Muaupoko residents in 1820 to extend their village.

The reserve is an important refuge for birds that depend on wetlands or lowland forests for their survival. Papaitonga is home to waterfowl and wading birds as well as forest species on the lake’s margins.

Lake Papaitonga and its surrounds make up 135 hectares of scenic reserve. Wetland and lush coastal forest surround the lake.

Mangapirau Lagoon, Waikawa Beach

In the Waikawa Beach dunes- at the end of Waikawa Beach Road.


Lake Waitawa



Forest Lakes Road, Otaki



'Lake margin vegetation largely reduced and subject to grazing in parts but contains representative elements of this habitat type. Wetland habitat is nationally under-represented. Provides habitat for kapungawha and kereru.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register


Forest Lake


Lake Kopureherehere


Takapu Road, Otaki



'Dune lake-wetland, swamp forest, tawa forest. Provides an example of ecological sequence between dune lake, swamp forest and dry forest formally characteristic of the area but now uncommon within Foxton Ecological District.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register

Rotopotakataka Lake


 Modified lake, some fingers recently
created. Lake levels appear higher than
historically. Irrigation water take.

Mixed indigenous/exotic, mown grass. Sedgeland, flaxland.

No picture yet.

Forest Lakes Road, Otaki (Lake 2) 'Tawa forest / Lake.  Very small area of uncommon habitat types. The lake has been modified and has an artificial species assemblage. Although this fragment is very small and under threat from pest plant species, tawa forest is uncommon within the Foxton Ecological District. Provides habitat for kereru and is a component of a series of fragments in the area.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register
Name & Size             

Lake Huritini


Described as:
'One of the few remaining dune lake and wetland associations within Foxton Ecological District and is representative of a formally more common habitat. Wetland habitat is nationally under-represented. However, the site is modified and exotic species are common. Provides habitat for bamboo spike-sedge and kapungawha. Protected by DOC Covenant.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register




Lake  Koputara





Maori-owned lake surrounded by private land.
In 1989, Ngati Raukawa lodged a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal regarding Lake Koputara.

Ngatotara Lagoon


Wairongomai Rd, Otaki



'Wetland habitat is nationally under-represented. Small, fragmented and unfenced but provides habitat for spotless crake and kapungawha.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register
Otawhaki Lagoon

Photo: 1 September 1929.

Western side of Lake Horowhenua, exact location unknown.

In his book “Horowhenua” (1948),  Adkin states that the lagoon had dried up in recent years apparently from natural causes. Also “Deepest at its western end, the southern end was shallow and swamp-edged, and to north and south, artificial channels connected the lagoon with two small adjacent swamps."


Pukehou Swamp


 No picture available. Forest Lakes Road, Otaki 'Wetland, swamp forest, secondary indigenous forest -  Best and largest representative example of wetland-swamp forest associations in Manawatu Plains Ecological District. Wetland habitat is nationally under-represented. Provides habitat for Korthalsella salicornioides, Hypolepis distans and Doodia australis (Enright et al. 2002; Ravine 1995). Protected under QEII Covenant and DOC Covenant.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register
Purehurehu No picture available. Wairongomai Road, Otaki  Very small highly modified, drained and grazed.
Dominated by rushland. Currently of low ecological
 Tangimate Lagoon Near Waitarere        
Te Hakari Wetland Kuku Beach, Ohau, Horowhenua.

Despite being drained over the last century and considerably depleted, what remains of Te Hakari Wetland represents the most important area of its type in the region.


Lake Waiorongomai



Waikawa Beach, Manakau



 Described as: 'Best dune lake with outflow to the sea in the Kapiti District. Wetland habitat is nationally under-represented. Provides important habitat for wetland species including kapungawha. Under considerable threat from stock and drainage.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register



Staples Bush


426 SH1 Nth, Otaki 'Small fragment of kohekohe-mahoe forest on river terrace tread; an uncommon vegetation type in Manawatu Plains Ecological District. Indigenous vegetation on alluvial plain is nationally under-represented.'
Source: KCDC Heritage Register
Kahuwera Lagoon     'One of the larger lagoons of the Horowhenua dune belt.'      
Katihiku Lagoon

Need to check this!

Possibly located at the western end of Swamp Road, Otaki near Katihiku Marae?



There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion