197 Burke Road, Waiotahi-Ohiwa, Opotiki

Ohiwa Harbour

Ohiwa Harbour in the Eastern Bay of Plenty between Whakatane and Opotiki is a shallow 26 square km
harbour of which three quarters is exposed land at low tide. There are seven islands in the harbour, one of which, Ohakana island is occupied. Boat access is via Port Ohope and a boat ramp on Ohiwa Loop road.
The water quality is excellent despite forestry and farmland in the catchment, runoff from which has led
to an increase in siltation and growth of the southernmost mangrove forests in New Zealand. Twelve
streams enter the harbour along with the Nukuhou river which flows through an extensive salt marsh and is an important habitat for marsh birds. A boardwalk and viewing platform overlooks the Nukuhou salt marsh.
An oyster farm, with takeaway seafood has been operating at the western end of the harbour for
many years.
Ohiwa Harbour is occupied over the summer by 2000 to 3000 godwits which arrive in September in a
direct 11700 km flight from Alaska. They depart for their breeding grounds in Alaska in March. There are over 60 species of birds in the harbour and its hinterland and they are described in an illustrated booklet put together by a conservation group and available for $5 from local information offices.

Words and Images by Mike Collins - Images include:

  • Nukuhou salt marsh boardwalk
  • Royal spoonbills roosting in the harbour at high tide
  • Bar-tailed Godwits roosting on Tern Island at high tide
  • View of Ohiwa harbour from regional park. Ohiwa village, Ohope and Ohiwa spits, Harbour entrance
  • Sunset over Ohiwa harbour from Fantail Cottage


  • Bridge



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