Water races are small canal-like waterways found on some properties in the Wairarapa. Water is diverted into them and animals drink from them. 

Water races have been part of the landscape for some time now. Over time, they’ve become part of the ecosystem around them – providing homes for fish and aquatic plants, along with vital drinking water for stock.

View of a field with a water raceNew water race classifications 

Water races don’t meet the definition of a highly modified river or stream under the Natural Resources Plan (NRP).  

Instead, the NRP includes different rules and regulations for water races, based on two new classifications: 

  • Artificial water race 
  • Water race that is or used to be a stream. 

How do I find out what rules apply to my water race?

To understand what classifications, and related rules, apply to water races on your property: 

  1. Use this map to understand how your water race has been classified. Key points about this map:
    • Different sections of a water race may be classified differently.
    • This map only includes sections of the network classified as a water race. Any sections not showing on the map will likely be captured by the national regulations, which require a 3-metre setback for fencing. Find out more about stock exclusion regulations.
    • Best efforts have been made to represent actual water race location on your property. If you have questions about this map or the classification of your water races, please contact your local council. 
  2. Read the rules that apply for different activities, provided below.

Rules that apply for different activities  

How we classified water races 

We worked alongside Traverse Environmental (formerly Aquanet Consulting) and received feedback from local District Councils to classify water races by:

  1. Analysing existing geo-spatial maps of water races to identify areas that should be classified as “are or used to be streams”
  2. Inspecting areas where more information was needed.

Additional information on water races from your District Council

If you have questions

If you have any questions about water races, please get in touch:

Updated October 16, 2023 at 2:15 PM

Get in touch

0800 496 734