Illustration visualising a high country reach
Image: Mark Neilson | ©


Help shape a new strategy to revive the Rakitata River in Canterbury from its alpine headwaters to coastal hāpua. Consultation now closed.

The draft Rakitata (Rangitata) River revival strategy sets a vision for a healthy river and thriving communities. It is based on scientific research and mātauraka Māori and has been brought to life with inspiring illustrations of vibrant, restored ecosystems.

Specific actions are proposed to revive six distinct reaches (sections) along the river’s length.

Note: Rakitata is our preferred name for the Rangitata River as it recognises the local Kāi Tahu (Ngāi Tahu) dialect, which replaces ‘ng’ with ‘k’. So ‘taonga’ becomes ‘taoka’ for example.

Summary of feedback

Read a summary of the submissions Rakitata River revival strategy consultation (PDF, 786K) received in this consultation. 

This consultation was open from 4 September to 2 October 2023.

Subscribe to the community newsletter to stay up-to-date with this project.

Email if you have any feedback, questions or if you want to get involved.

Read more about the draft strategy below.

The need for revival

The mighty Rakitata River was once an area of incredible abundance, home to unique plants, animals, habitats and ecosystems. Today it also supports many people who live and work in its catchment.

Human activities have caused a decline in the mauri (life force) of the river. These include:

  • water takes
  • pollution
  • modified flows
  • river protection works
  • gravel extraction
  • predators
  • weed invasion
  • climate change.

Many threatened species – like birds, plants, lizards, fish – need safe places in or beside the river to live and reproduce. Communities of people need to be protected from flooding. They also need to be able to use it for recreation and to gather food from this river and its catchment. A healthy river environment ki uta ki tai, from mountains to sea, will continue to support these important values.

Description of mauri

Mauri is an important part of the spiritual relationship of Kāi Tahu with the river. It embodies the physical and spiritual elements that make up the life force of all things. All elements of the natural environment have a life force, and all forms of life are connected. Rivers carry their own mauri and have their own mana (status). Our vision is to see the mauri of the Rakitata River valued, protected and restored from its source to the sea.

About the strategy

A draft strategy has been prepared by partners of Ko te Whakahaumanu o te Rakitata Awa – the Rakitata River revival programme.

The strategy proposes actions that can contribute to reviving the mauri of the river. The actions are short and longer term and involve everyone who lives, works and plays along its length. While the strategy is non-statutory (not legally binding), it is intended to be a partnership with the community to prioritise actions to revive the river.

The strategy is in two parts:

  • Part 1 describes the kaupapa (approach) that guides our work.
  • Part 2 describes each reach and lists opportunities and actions that could be taken to revive the river.

Whakahaumanu o te Rakitata revival strategy - Part 1: Kaupapa (PDF, 834K)

Whakahaumanu o te Rakitata revival strategy - Part 2: Actions - River reaches (PDF, 5,259K)

Read more about the Rakitata River revival programme.

Overview of the six reaches.

River reaches

The strategy considers the river in six reaches (sections or areas) from the sea to its mountain headwaters.

Each reach has distinct attributes, history and uses. Together they describe a precious, diverse and dynamic series of ecosystems that form the Rakitata River.

Download and view a map of the 6 reaches (PDF, 4,670K)

The Rangitata River water conservation order (2006) protects the river’s outstanding characteristics and features, this includes minimum flow regulation.

Explore an overview of each of the reaches below. Or download Part 2 of the strategy (PDF, 5,259K) for full details.

Next steps

This consultation is open from 4 September to 2 October 2023.

Feedback will be analysed in early October and an overview of proposed changes will be discussed by the steering group on 10 November.

The finalised strategy will be shared via the Rakitata River revival community newsletter and by the project partners in their own communications.


Subscribe to the community newsletter to stay up-to-date with this project.

If you have any questions about this consultation, or would like to be involved in the programme, contact


Your submission may be released publicly.

All submissions are subject to the Official Information Act and can be released under this Act. If you have specific reasons for wanting to have your submission withheld, please explain your reasons in the submission. Your reasons will be considered when making any assessment for the release of submissions under the Official Information Act.

Partner agencies may use the feedback you provide for this consultation to inform other programmes of work. This could include district or regional plans. If you do not want your feedback to be used in this way, please note your preference in your survey response or written submission.

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