The catchment where it all began with Uretara Estuary Managers Incorporated! The primary waterway is the Uretara River, and there are four named tributary streams: Boyd, McKinney, Quarry and Wharawhara, each quite significant in it’s own right. There are 171km of stream margins and 11 km of harbour margins. All of the Katikati urban area is in the Uretara catchment.

The founding UEM members identified several issues across the catchment, and step by step volunteers began work on a range of environmental projects including:

  • Working with landowners to retire and plant stream banks to reduce erosion and siltation
  • Protecting native birdlife around the estuary shoreline by baiting and trapping pests
  • Planting the estuary margin to create habitat and food sources for native birds and other wildlife
  • Propagating native plants for catchment and estuary margin revegetation
  • Working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to control mangroves spread across the estuary and into the salt marsh areas
  • Managing the spread of invasive weeds in and around Katikati.

Catchment map

Upper Uretara

A long history of human activity, from farming to quarrying, has impacted the ecology of this area. The upper Uretara was the first area to benefit from targeted restoration grants (via the Sustainable Management Fund), and the project’s volunteers gained plenty of skills and knowledge through work including planting and stream health monitoring on the various tributaries.

Lower Uretara

This portion of the catchment is deeply embedded in the history of Katikati. It’s where many locals and visitors interact with the river, with options for recreation including long and short strolls along through Haiku Park, the Uretara reserve and the Bird Walk and Yeoman walkway. Swimming in the Uretara is recreational activity that has been impacted by poor water quality.

Coastal Margin

The integrity and condition of our estuary margin is generally poor. Historic land clearance and the resultant urban and horticulture expansion into coastal margin buffers have altered the biodiversity of this important ecological zone. Mangrove proliferation, pest plant and animal pressure and ongoing erosion of the foreshore are all key issues.



Yeoman Walkway

One of the earliest areas of focus for volunteers, efforts to protect estuarine and wetland dwelling birds including bittern and fern bird began in 2004, with pest control for rats along the riverbank walkway.