Top spots

Decorative banner image

Top spots in the Horizons Region

To help inform freshwater regulations for our region we’re asking three things of you: what are your favourite places for freshwater recreation, what water bodies do you think are remarkable, and whether you agree with the criteria proposed to determine which water bodies are remarkable.

Freshwater recreation

What are your top freshwater spots – where do you play in or on the water in the Horizons Region?

We want to know where and how you enjoy freshwater, from swimming in the Ōroua, rafting down the Rangitīkei, or water-skiing across Lake Wiritoa. You can do this through the map linked below, simply drop a pin on a location and tell us what you do there. This will help inform where we monitor water quality for swimming and other water-based activities in the future.

Outstanding water bodies

We also want to know which freshwater bodies across the region you believe are spectacular, remarkable or just downright awesome – officially known as ‘outstanding water bodies’. We have proposed criteria that those water bodies would need to be assessed against to qualify as being outstanding and we’ve made a list of the ones we think could be outstanding. We want to know if you agree with the ones on our list or if there are others we have missed. You can tell us by filling out the survey below.

The water bodies on our list, and any other identified through this engagement process, will be assessed by an external expert panel against the final criteria. The expert panel will decide whether they make the final proposed list.

We are proposing the following criteria to help us determine what features in the region need an extra level of protection. We consider a water body outstanding if evidence suggests it:

provides outstanding habitat for:

  • aquatic birds (native and migratory)
  • native fish
  • indigenous plant communities
  • trout


  • has outstanding natural character
  • is an example of special geomorphology (characteristics, origin, and development of landforms) or natural form
  • is a prized angling amenity for trout
  • provides an outstanding recreational experience for the following activities: rafting, kayaking and canoeing or jet boating

If you’d like to read the full criteria, you can do so here.

What are we doing with this information?

This information will help to inform changes to the One Plan (the document that details the regional management of environmental resources). We are now two years into gathering the necessary information to review and revise the One Plan to improve the health and well-being of all waterways in the region;  if you want to learn about the previous rounds of engagement you can do so here.

Feedback on freshwater recreation will be used to shape our monitoring programme into the future.

Feedback on the criteria for outstanding water bodies will be considered and incorporated where appropriate. The water bodies that people propose for consideration as outstanding water bodies will be considered by an expert panel using the finalised criteria.

Please note that submissions for this round of engagement officially closed on Tuesday 28 February. However, you can still have your say by using the feedback form.