Photo by NelsonNZ.

Toxic Algae in lower Maitai River


After being recently named New Zealand’s second most improved river, council have confirmed that the Maitai River is once again unsafe.

People should avoid allowing their children and dogs to play or swim in the section of the Maitai River below Branford Park, due to increased levels of cyanobateria (also known as blue-green algae).

This naturally occurring algae is present in rivers during this time of year and can reach warning levels (in accordance with the NZ Guidelines for Cyanobacteria in Recreational Freshwaters) when low river flows occur. Heavy rain can flush the algae downstream, and Council officers will be monitoring algae levels weekly.

Cyanobacteria produces the neurotoxin anatoxin, which is potentially lethal to dogs, stock and humans when ingested in large amounts. Dogs that are known to eat the algae are most at risk.

Dog owners are advised to keep their dogs on a lead in this section of the Maitai River and to use the permitted area at Tahunanui Beach to swim their pets. Weekly updates on toxic algae alerts will be available on Council’s website