White water rafting, Okere Falls Scenic Reserve

Image: Ronald Woan | Creative Commons


This reserve has significant Maori cultural and spiritual value and features the waterfalls of the Kaituna River, including the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world.

Place overview


  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and canoeing
  • Rafting
  • Walking and tramping

Find things to do and places to stay Okere Falls Scenic Reserve

About this place

History and culture

Flowing through the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve, which is rich in resources, the Kaituna River has been highly valued by the people of the area for centuries.

This reserve has significant Maori cultural and spiritual value.

The river name ‘Kaituna’ (kai = food, tuna = eels) reveals much about its significance as a food source. Below the four main waterfalls are numerous large eel holes. Further down the river, whitebait were caught in great numbers, koura (freshwater crayfish) were another local delicacy. 

Innumerable battles have been fought on its shores to guard the important food sources.

The river was the site of New Zealand's first hydro-electic power station.

It is the traditional river of Ngati Pikiao, who have made their home here for many years. In 1984, the Waitangi Tribunal confirmed Ngati Pikiao as the traditional owners of the river.

Getting there

Drive out of Rotorua on SH 30 towards Whakatane or the Airport. At turn off go straight ahead on SH 33 towards Tauranga. Trout Pool road is on the left after 8 km.

Know before you go

Stop the spread of Rotorua pest fish brochure.
Stop the spread of Rotorua pest fish brochure. View larger (PDF, 1,110K)

Dangerously strong currents and waterfalls. Please keep to the track.

Stop the spread and keep Rotorua lakes free of pest fish

Report any sightings of koi carp (3-70 cm) or catfish (3-40 cm). Other fish of particular concern are rudd and gambusia.

You can help by photographing any specimens caught and forwarding to your local DOC office and by following Check Clean Dry protocols.

Invasive species are a problem because they reduce water quality and can compete with native species and trout.

For further information, or to report suspicious fish, contact your local DOC office or phone 0800 DOC HOT.


Rotorua Office
Phone:   +64 7 349 7400
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   rotorua@doc.govt.nz
Address:   99 Sala Street
Rotorua 3010
Postal Address:   PO Box 1146
Rotorua 3040
Rotorua i-SITE Visitor Information Centre
Phone:   +64 7 351 7324
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   rotoruavisitor@doc.govt.nz
Address:   1167 Fenton St
Postal Address:   Private Bag 3007
Back to top