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Waikanae River facts for kids

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Waikanae River
Waikanae River flowing towards sea
Waikanae River entering Tasman Sea at Waikanae Beach

Waikanae River is located on the Kapiti Coast in the North Island of New Zealand.

The river drains the western flanks of the Tararua Ranges around Reikorangi and the Akatarawa Valley, then passes to the south of the town of Waikanae before entering the Tasman Sea at Waikanae Beach. Tributaries include the Maungakotukutuku Stream, Ngatiawa River, and Reikorangi Stream. The estuary of the river is a significant reserve providing shelter and habitat for local and migratory seabirds. It also provides a major recreational location, both for residents and tourists.

Water up to a maximum amount is taken out of the river as water supply for Waikanae and Paraparaumu. This sometimes leads to water restrictions if the river runs low, however in January 2005 the river burst its banks after heavy rain. The river has good water quality and high aquatic biodiversity, but there are occasional blooms of toxic cyanobacteria after prolonged periods of low flow during hot, dry weather.


The first bridge was built about 1885 by the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company. It was a 3-span timber truss bridge. In 1925 a fence of old rails was built to protect the bridge, backed by fifteen old square iron tanks (sent from East Town), filled with river bed stones. By 1938 the bridge had been rebuilt in steel and concrete.

The next bridge was built nearby and opened in 1901. It was also 3 timber spans and 247 ft (75 m) long.

The latest bridge is on the Kapiti Expressway. It is a single T-beam, 35 m (115 ft) above the river, with a 39 m (128 ft) span.

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