Introduction to
the Project.

The principal objective of the project is to develop storage reservoirs and water delivery for two schemes within Northland that would enable a shift towards sustainable higher-value horticultural land uses which will lift the wellbeing of local communities, whilst caring for the environment. 

The areas identified for development are near Kaikohe in the Mid North and on the northern Pouto peninsula, south of Dargaville. The schemes will provide infrastructure to develop approximately 7000ha of new horticulture, significantly increasing Northland's area in horticultural production. 

The project is currently in the Feasibility Phase. During this time the schemes will be developed, including the staging of infrastructure building and cost, as well as all investigations required to successfully obtain the necessary resource consents to proceed. The Feasibility Phase is hoped to be completed by December 2020 once all resource consent applications are lodged.

The Trust has received $68m from the PGF to complete the first stage of the programme. Of this, $8.5m is in the form of a grant, the rest is a loan. The first stage will see working water schemes at two reservoirs in the Mid North and one in Kaipara. The next stage, which will see the schemes in both regions enlarged, would be funded by the successful implementation of stage one.



Previous studies analysed the entire province of Te Tai Tokerau before determining that the most benefit could be realised in the Kaipara and Mid North. The two locations you see on the maps were chosen because they ticked all the right boxes:

  • Suitable Horticultural Soils
  • Demand and opportunity due to climatic conditions.
  • Significant potential to support economic growth in local communities.

How it works.

The reservoirs will fill from surface water that is retained during times of high overland water flow. This is water that would otherwise run off of the catchment area. There will be no water extracted from underground aquifers. A network of pipes will deliver sustainably allocated water throughout the community when required to supplement water availability.

Landowners within reach of the schemes can connect to this supply at the farm gate but will need to provide the on-farm infrastructure required to use the water. Landowners wishing to access the schemes will be able to buy shares from the Trust.

The Trust will also enter into agreements to sell water to non-shareholders. The price of shares has yet to be determined. The two proposed schemes could significantly expand the area currently irrigated for horticulture in Northland.

By providing water for higher value food production we create opportunities for greater community wellbeing.

drop Kaipara Mid North
Volume of Storage 12m3 8m3
Storage Sites 2-3 3-4
Total Length of Pipe 75 - 85 km 45-55 km
Farm Area Supplied 4000 ha 3000 ha
Municipal Supply Yes Yes

Timeline and Scheme Development

A series of studies looking at water storage options aimed at addressing water use - and the potential economic benefits to the region - has progressed in stages over the past five years.

These studies were mainly focussed on commercial supply for horticultural use but also showed that any potential schemes could positively enhance existing municipal supply. The Far North District Council and Kaipara District Council have both expressed strong interest in investing in the scheme for this purpose.

We are currently in the Feasibility Stage – meaning the schemes are being developed and all resource consents required to proceed are being obtained. The first reservoir, called Matawii, near Kaikohe is the most advanced and plans are for construction to begin before the end of 2020. Two others, one each in the Mid North and Kaipara will hopefully start in early 2021.

We are looking to bring the scheme online as quickly as possible, with the potential that stages could be available as early as summer 2021/22. Full development of the schemes are likely to be over a longer period in response to demand.

The journey so far.

2014 – Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure study to identify opportunities begins.

2016 – Study complete. Identifies areas in Mid North and Kaipara as suitable for further development.

2017 – Scoping study develops four scheme options (one in Kaipara and three in Mid North).

May 2019 - $18.5M from the Provincial Growth Fund to further investigate options in the Kaipara and/or Mid North areas.

Jan 2020 - $12M PGF funding boost - regional water storage and use project. Two areas confirmed for development (one in Mid North and one in Kaipara).

Mar 2020 – Analysis and Recommendations study into two schemes completed.

Apr 2020 – Feasibility phase commences

June 2020 – Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust formed. PGF funding boost of $37.5m.

Management Structure

Te Tai Tokerau Water Trust is currently managing the project, including the project funding agreement with MBIE. It is envisioned that water companies will be established which will own and operate the schemes, with shareholding being reflective of users and the wider community requirements.