Back to top anchor
Close main menu
Open main menu Close main menu

Auckland wastewater spill: Waitematā Harbour rāhui lifted

Issue date

Yachties and boaties can again enjoy the Waitematā Harbour after the rāhui, which prohibited sailing, swimming, fishing, paddling, diving and other recreational activities since late September was finally lifted this week.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the tangata whenua and ahi kā of central Tāmaki Makaurau, held a a karakia at Ōkahu Bay on Thursday morning (16 November) to formally lift the rāhui over Waitematā Harbour following the improvement of the water quality.

The rāhui was put in place on September 28 in response to the high-volume wastewater overflows caused by the sinkhole that blocked the Ōrākei main sewer.

"After close consultation with Watercare, and having conducted our own assessments, we are now confident that the mauri of our cherished Waitematā has recovered sufficiently,” Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust chair Marama Royal said.

A bypass solution aimed at reducing the overflow of raw wastewater into the harbour was successfully introduced last month. 

Watercare chief executive Dave Chambers told RNZ the overflows were heartbreaking to many Aucklanders.

“Our water quality and wider environmental programme is ongoing, but the results so far indicate the harbour is recovering incredibly well and as a result, most beaches have green water quality pins on Safeswim again, which is great news ahead of summer.”

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Watercare are meeting with experts in environmental systems regeneration next week to begin planning for the rehabilitation of Waitematā, RNZ reported.

Some beaches remain unsafe to swim at according and Aucklanders are urged to continue monitoring the Safeswim for the latest water quality information.