Lake Rotoiti, meaning ‘the small lake’, is actually a relatively large lake lying to the east of Rotorua. It’s a fantastic spot for fishing and boating, with the stunning Manupirua Hot Springs on its shores (which are only accessible by boat).
The Hinehopu 2.2km walking track, running from Lake Rotoiti to Lake Rotoehu through a breathtaking forest of rimu, tawa, pukatea and rewarewa, is also popular year-round.
Lake Rotoiti is linked to Lake Rotorua via the Ohau Channel, which means the quality of the water in Lake Rotorua has a significant effect on Lake Rotoiti. In 2008, a 1,300-metre-long wall was constructed to prevent water with a high nutrient content from flowing directly into Lake Rotoiti. As a result, more than 70 percent of the nutrients that were flowing into the lake have now been diverted down the Kaituna River.
This strategy dramatically improved water quality in Lake Rotoiti from its crisis point in the mid-2000s, and it’s thankfully now stable. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has been hard at work controlling catfish in the lake and will continue to manage the pest ongoing.
The long term plan for Lake Rotoiti is to eventually remove the Ohau Diversion wall to enable the waters to mix again, once the inflow of nutrients to Lake Rotorua has reduced.
LAKE ROTOITI TRIAL UPDATE
Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) is the consent holder of two resource consents that authorise activities associated with the operation and maintenance of the Okere Control Gates at the outlet of Lake Rotoiti.
BOPRC is seeking variation to these resource consents. These changes fall into two groups;
A trial for a period of three years and five months to vary the lake level management regime and also drawing the lake level down to RL278.85m for a period of one week within the trial period. This is close to the lowest level the lake has been recorded at. This trial is based on a joint proposal by BOPRC and Ngāti Pikiao Environmental Incorporated Society (NPES), and will allow investigation of impacts on Lake Rotoiti identified in the Cultural Management Plan.
At the same time, BOPRC is seeking permanent changes to conditions covering four aspects of the resource consent which are either no longer required or require modification for administrative efficiency.
BOPRC has undertaken considerable consultation on the proposal and has attempted to minimize the impact on any parties by planning the lowering only on one occasion during the 3 year period and programming it during the winter so that once the low level is achieved the lake can be rapidly re-filled. Further detailed information can be found in the Lake Rotoiti Trial Summary