Please note, ORC uses the Kāi Tahu spelling of Manuherekia.

We are developing a Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP) in partnership with Kāi Tahu whānui, and with feedback from the greater Otago community.

Join the kōrero on the proposed direction of the Plan to care for Otago's lakes, rivers and streams and guide the activities that impact them.

We have a summary of proposed new rules and regulations that we encourage you to look over.

Previous community consultation

The Manuherekia Rohe community is one of the first we worked with to develop a preferred approach to water and land management. We prioritised this area (along with the Arrow and Cardrona catchments) because it had many expiring deemed permits and policy work had already been done. 

Work between the community and ORC started in 2019, with a key partner being the Manuherekia Reference Group, a range of stakeholders that ORC meets with monthly. The reference group represents the wide-ranging interests of the community and helped us develop options for water flow management, which are now being discussed with the wider community (details below). 

You can view a summary report of the submissions, as well as the full set of submissions below.

Media release - Summary report on Manuherekia Management Scenarios consultation

May 2021 Manuherekia Management Scenarios consultation document.

Manuherekia Scenarios Consultation report

August 2021 council report

Submissions received

The preferred approach will be drafted into the Manuherekia Rohe chapter of the proposed Land and Water Regional Plan. 

The new plan will be notified late 2024. Once this plan is notified, you can make a submission saying what you like or how it could be improved.


About the area

Under national legislation, regional councils must manage waterways at an appropriate scale for setting freshwater objectives and limits. 

We have set five Freshwater Management Units (FMUs) and divided the Clutha Mata-Au FMU into five rohe (areas). One of these is the Manuherekia Rohe, which is based on the catchment area of the Manuherekia River. 

Economic profile and snapshot

The Manuherekia Rohe is combined with the Roxburgh Rohe and the northern part of the Taieri Rohe when considering socio-economic information. These communities have close economic ties – for example, many residents live in one area and work or spend time in the others. The three areas combined are referred to as the ‘Inland’. 

In 2018, the area was home to around 13,000 residents (6% of Otago’s population),an increase of 15% from 2006. The economy of this area depends on the water-reliant agriculture sector (which provides for one in five jobs) and tourism-related industries (15% of all jobs). Administrative services (13%) is the third largest sector in the area, with the sub-category of employment services providing 10% of all jobs. Together, these industries account for around half of the employment in the ‘Inland’ area. 

It is important to understand Māori history and the Māori economy when developing policy and assessing its impact. Pre-European Māori history shapes today’ Aotearoa, and the Māori economy is integral to the national economic system. ORC is partnering with Aukaha and Te Ao Marama to develop an overview of Kāi Tahu history and economy. 

Science profile

The Manuherekia Rohe sits between the Dunstan Range to the west, the St Bathans Range to the north, the Hawkdun Range and Rough Ridge to the east and the Knobby Range to the South. The Manuherekia River, the rohe’s main water body, flows for 85 km in a south-west direction towards Alexandra where it joins the Clutha Mata-Au River. The rohe stretches over approximately 3,000 km2. The climate of the Manuherekia Rohe is semi-arid, characterised by cold winters, warm, dry summers and low rainfall. The area is dominated by pasture grasslands on the flat and gently sloping land, while tussock grasslands are common in the high country. The lower end of the rohe has the urban area of Alexandra, and the settlements of Omakau and Ophir are small but growing.

Proposed new rules and regulations for the Manuherekia Rohe


This summary provides an overview of the provisions relating to the Manuherekia Rohe (area). This includes environmental outcomes, target attribute states and area-specific rules and limits. The rules and limits are in addition to those in the region-wide rules covered in the other summaries.

If you are unsure of any particular terms, there is a ​​glossary of terms.

Recent content updates:

  • 13 October 2023:
    • Amended information on cultivation in Table 2 for clarity
  • 11 October 2023:
    • Added bespoke limits and additional provisions for environmental flows for Manuherekia river
  • 25 September 2023:
    • Added the Manuherekia Rohe boundary map
  • 24 September 2023:
    • Added timeframe for achieving the environmental outcomes for target attribute states
    • Added information regarding 'matters of control' in table 2
Map of the Manuherekia Rohe

Want to know more?

Contact your rohe's Catchment Advisor for advice and assistance on sustainable land management practices that protect Otago’s waterways.

Sign up to our monthly newsletter On Stream for regular updates


Tel 0800 474 082

Page last updated 3 July 2024.