The torrent

New Zealand’s longest river narrows to a 15-metre cataract of whitewater at Te Waiheke o Huka, where some 220,000 litres of water per second tumbles over six-metre drop.

Produced by New Zealand Geographic

The flow would fill an Olympic swimming pool in 11 seconds.

The falls also divide the territories of Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa river iwi, and separate the ecology of the tributary of Lake Taupō from the upper reaches of the Waikato River itself. There are no eels—for instance—above the falls, they can’t pass the falls or climb the steep rock walls.

Are rivers highways, drains, arteries or taonga? Across the short human history of New Zealand they have been thought of as all of those things. More recently tourism has put the weight of economic incentive back on healthy rivers, arguably where it should have remained all along.

Episodes From This Location

Soak it up

1 minute / 2019

Hinemoa’s Needle

1 minute / 2019

Ride a log truck

1 minute / 2019

Dive the Waikato

1 minute / 2019

Hot rocks

1 minute / 2019

Upper reaches

1 minute / 2019

Inside a power station

1 minute / 2019

Fly over a power station

1 minute / 2019

Ride in a jet boat

1 minute / 2019

Flying high

1 minute / 2019

Go eeling

1 minute / 2019

Leviathans

1 minute / 2019

Paddle a waka

1 minute / 2019

The torrent

1 minute / 2019