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Auckland region

Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland covers a land area representing less than 2% of New Zealand but is home to over a third of New Zealand’s population. The current population of 1.7 million is projected to grow to 2.3 million by 2050. Currently 11% of the region is urbanised. Rural production is the most dominant land use and continues to be a valuable and important part of the region. Some of the best agricultural soils in the country are found in Auckland — mostly in the south, which rely on water from several highly productive aquifers. No mainland location in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland is further than 20km from the coast and most of the catchments and rivers are small. The region is characterised by extensive and varied marine environments, including three main harbours, and many estuaries and bays. Current and future choices about where and how Tāmaki Makaurau grows, influences how we address environmental degradation, and the opportunities to use growth to restore our natural environment. Find out more about Auckland’s natural environment at Auckland council website  Auckland council and the synthesis of state of the environment monitoring at Knowledge Auckland. Sites at swimming spots across Auckland is also provided on the Auckland Council  Safeswim website.

Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland encompasses a range of freshwater ecosystems, including lakes, rivers, streams, springs and wetlands. These ecosystems support a variety of indigenous flora and fauna, offer aesthetic and recreational values and are an integral part of Māori culture. The majority of naturally formed lakes in the region are dune lakes, except for Lake Pupuke which is a deep volcanic lake. There are an estimated 16,500 km of permanently flowing rivers across the region, which increases to 28,240 km when intermittent and ephemeral rivers are included. Most of these rivers reach the sea before they merge with others to form large rivers. As a result, catchments in the region are generally small, with rivers that are characteristically short in length and narrow in width. The largest rivers in the region are Hoteo River, which flows to the Kaipara Harbour, and Wairoa River which flows to the Hauraki Gulf.

Auckland’s topography is predominantly gentle in comparison to other regions of New Zealand. This strongly influences the nature of Auckland’s rivers, along with the underlying geology, typically resulting in slow flowing, low gradient, soft-bottomed rivers. High gradient rivers with hard stony stream beds are mostly restricted to catchments that drain the Waitākere Ranges, Hunua Ranges and Aotea/Great Barrier Island.