The Otaki River catchment drains about 400 sq km of the steep western slopes of the Tararua Ranges - an area stretching from Mount Aston in the south to Mount Pukematawai in the north.
The river is joined by two major tributaries at Otaki Forks and flows through deep valleys and gorges in the foothills to the coastal plain, where it meanders to the Tasman Sea between Te Horo and Otaki townships.
The Otaki River has played a dominant role in the formation of the floodplain on which towns are situated and much of the local economy based. The premium flat, fertile plains have fostered farming, market gardening and horticulture. The economic importance of these activities helps to explain the historical emphasis placed on restricting the river to the minimum area required to control flooding, and minimising encroachment onto adjacent land uses.
A major flood in the Otaki River today could cause millions of dollars worth of damage to property and community assets. The social and psychological costs would add considerably to the devastating effect of such an event.
Greater Wellington Flood Protection has an annual budgeted amount for a contribution to river works that fit within the Isolated Works policy. Isolated works are privately owned flood or erosion protection works that are constructed outside areas where Greater Wellington manages community flood protection schemes. The intent of the contribution is to provide a level of service to areas that are not eligible for rate funded community flood protection schemes. The maximum contribution is set at 30% of the actual cost of an eligible isolated work, and has traditionally been provided on a first in first served basis.
Further information is available in the isolated works and advice section of this website.