Reserve Management Plan review

Over the last 15 years, the 149-hectare reserve has had significant changes to the environmental conditions of the lake, legislation, its catchment’s management and visitation levels. We also have a greater appreciation of mana whenua values and aspirations and improved knowledge and experience about the value of peat lakes and actions required to protect and restore them.

Reviewing and updating the management plan is required by the Reserves Act 1977 to respond to these changes.

The RMP will aim to:

  • understand views of mana whenua and other users on the use of the reserve
  • consider the impacts of the district’s growing and diverse population and changes to the wider open space network
  • reflect the changes in the reserve’s values and new ways to protect and restore the reserve
  • consider renaming the reserve to mana whenua preferred name
  • align the plan with new or reviewed legislation, national policy statements, policies, strategies and bylaws, and
  • update the plan to include land purchased in 2018, the paper roads surrounding the reserve land and approved projects.

We have been working closely with Ngāti Apakura and Ngāti Hikairo to plan the approach for the RMP review.

Council has commissioned open spaces specialist consultants Xyst to lead the review process.

Xyst will work closely with mana whenua, Waikato Regional Council, other partner organisations and key stakeholders such as lessees and adjoining landowners to review the RMP.

Have your say

We are in the early stages of reviewing the RMP and would like to hear the community’s views about what we could include and consider.

Your input will help us form a draft RMP that will then go out for further refinement and consultation.

Provide your feedback:

You have until 5pm, Sunday 28 July to have your say.

In early 2025, the new draft RMP will be made available for review and there will be a two-month submission period. Following that submitters will have the opportunity to present their submissions at a hearing.


The current Lake Ngā Roto Recreation Reserve Management Plan dates back to 2009 and is due for a review.

Lake Ngā Roto is a Recreation Reserve, gazetted under the Reserves Act 1977. The reserve includes an open water area of around 89ha, a considerable wetland margin of 60ha, giving a total area of 149ha. Waipā District Council is responsible for day-to-day administration and management of the reserve.

Public use of the reserve is varied and includes yachting, rowing, duck shooting, walking (including dogs), cycling, freedom camping and picnicking. The lake is highly valued for its off-road walking 5.9km circuit.

Water quality monitoring over recent summers has identified that the lake has extremely poor health, with agal blooms occurring. This then results in hypoxic or anoxic conditions that, together with botulism outbreaks, present a danger to animals and human health.

Despite the restoration initiatives, the water quality and ecological conditions have continued to degrade because of the long-term impacts of historic drainage and vegetation clearance, nutrient loading, climate change and the impacts of invasive plants and animals.

Frequently asked questions

Reserve management plans are required under the Reserves Act to guide the use, management, and protection of reserve land. They should provide a long-term vision for a reserve, as well as direction on actions that will be taken in the next 10 years.

The plan acts as a reference point and includes the reserve classification and legal status, the area it covers, an overview of the values and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

  • Mana whenua have had the opportunity to better express their cultural values and aspirations for the lake and wider catchment
  • Deterioration of the lake’s water quality and ecological conditions despite a range of restoration initiatives
  • Acquisition of land by Council
  • Changes in the wider legislative framework
  • A growing understanding of the role of peat lakes in climate change and the impacts of climate change
  • New ecological and recreation projects initiated
  • Council has adopted a restoration plan for this reserve
  • Visitation has increased
  • The two fixed term leases on the reserve have expired.

The current RMP was made operative in 2009. It covers 8 parcels of land classified as recreation reserve administered under the Act, totalling an area of 149.0913 hectares. The land is both Crown and Council-owned, with Council being the administering body for all of these land parcels.

Council has decided to include 114 Bank Road property (Lot 6 DP 526717), the paper roads surrounding the recreation reserve land adjoining Lake Ngā Roto and any future land acquired to improve the health of Lake Ngā Roto in the new RMP.

The land that will be covered in the new RMP is shown in this map.

Council allocated funding through the Long-Term Plan 2021 – 2031 to undertake the review.

The new plan will inform a funding business case to be considered as part of the 2025 - 2034 Long Term Plan.

Lake Ngā Roto is culturally significant to mana whenua, particularly Ngāti Apakura and Ngāti Hikairo.

Five Pā sites are recorded around the lake margins highlighting their long and historic occupation. The lake and surrounds are within the area where the Hingakaka Battle was fought, and the lake is considered waahi tapu. It is the place where Uenuku (a significant taonga for Waikato iwi and the Waipā community) was stored for safe keeping and later discovered and returned to iwi.

As a taonga tuku iho (heirloom), mana whenua wish to enable Mātauranga Māori into decision making, to protect and restore the five Pā sites and other cultural values, and to pursue traditional and contemporary activities and tikanga.

For more information visit

Lake Ngā Roto is a peat lake of local, regional, and national importance classified as ‘acutely threatened’.

Council has worked collaboratively with mana whenua, Waikato Regional Council,

the Waipā Peat Lakes and Wetlands Accord (Peat Lakes Accord), adjoining landowners and volunteers for over four decades to improve the health and wellbeing of the lake.

This has included significant restoration planting, pest and weed control, development of sediment traps, installation of a diversion channel to stop water from Lake Ngā Rotoiti entering the lake, an adjustable weir to maintain a year-round minimum lake

level and acquiring land to retire and revegetate marginal grazing land.

Despite the restoration initiatives, the water quality and ecological conditions have

continued to degrade because of the long-term impacts of historic drainage and

vegetation clearance, nutrient loading from land management practices within the

1,846-hectare lake catchment, climate change and the impacts of invasive pants and animals.

The lake has “flipped” into a suspended algae/phytoplankton state and sediment dominated state. The lake is now categorised as ‘supertrophic’ (having very high amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen leading to excessive algae growth).

Proactive mitigation to improve the water quality will take years to realise the benefit due to the nutrient loaded sediment.

It is proposed that the RMP review consider renaming the lake and reserve land to mana whenua’s preferred name in accordance with Council’s Naming Policy 2021 and evaluate the most appropriate Reserves Act classification for the land administered under the RMP.