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Catchment Overview

The following is a general overview of the Te Hoiere / Pelorus catchment. Explore the following Catchment Overview map to discover detailed information about the environment, people and history of the area.


The Te Hoiere / Pelorus catchment spans 110,108 hectares. Flowing through its nine sub-catchments is an abundance of freshwater streams and rivers. Together, these watercourses sustain the land and its diverse ecosystems, the Motuweka / Havelock and Māhakipaoa estuary receiving environments, and ultimately, the Te Hoiere/Pelorus sound.

The catchment falls within the Marlborough Region, and is bordered by the Mt Richmond Forest Park in the South – South West, and the Marlborough Sounds in the North – North East.


Kakaruai (South Island Robin) | Wayne Stronach

The majority of land cover in Te Hoiere is indigenous forest. The catchment’s many headwaters are largely clad in native beech and mixed beech-podocarp forest. Precious remnant old-growth forest on the alluvial floodplains hosts matai, rimu and totara forest – if you visit Te Hoiere / Pelorus Bridge at night you might even see the critically endangered pekapeka / long-tailed bats that call this forest home.

Te Hoiere is home to abundant indigenous biodiversity, with most of some species of flora and fauna only found here. Our integrated catchment enhancement plan documents the descriptions of 22 threatened and uncommon species you might discover across the landscape.

There are many other species precious to Te Hoiere including those of significance to tangata whenua for dyeing, weaving, rongoā (healing) and kai, and to the wider community for iconic bird song. Some of these include muka flax (fibrous harakeke flax used for weaving), pigeonwood, miro, kaikomako, kohekohe, kereru and kārearea.


The diverse community of Te Hoiere includes among others farmers, foresters, artisans, lifestylers, tourism industry workers, conservation workers and aquaculture workers. There are several schools across the catchment which together cover years 1-13.

Ngāti Kuia are celebrated and respected as Mana Whenua and kaitiaki of Te Hoiere, and likewise, Rangitāne o Wairau as Mana Whenua of the Kaituna sub-catchment.

The Te Hoiere community is intrinsically connected to the natural environment, with passionate and active participation in restoration work across the sub-catchments.


The catchment falls within the Te Hoiere / Pelorus Ecological District, of the Richmond Ecological Region. The winter climate across the catchment ranges from cold and wet in the valleys, with frosty winters, to warmer in the hill country. In summer months, the climate is warmer but often wet. Rainfall in the catchment is high, particularly in the Rai sub-catchment.

Soils and geology

The soils across Te Hoiere are highly erodible, with clay content up to 60%. The underlying geology in the valleys is mostly alluvial sediments and greywacke rock, with greywacke and schist in the mountains.

Land use change

Te Hoiere catchment is home to a patchwork of land uses.

Due to erosion and poor soil fertility, farming in the catchment declined around the 1930’s with farmers converting the land to pine plantations or leaving the land to regenerate. From 1980, after a brief farming resurgence, widespread regeneration to native forest, or conversion to pine plantations has occurred throughout the catchment.

Map courtesy of Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Marlborough District Council

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