Marlborough Rivers Overview

Last Modified: 25-7-2017 21:37

Wairau River looking west from Kaituna
Wairau River looking west from Kaituna

Much of southern Marlborough is semi-arid, however the valleys formed by the Wairau and Awatere faults provide significant catchments for the two major rivers of the region, the Wairau, and the Awatere. The Clarence River also flows through southern Marlborough. In northern Marlborough, the Pelorus River is the only significant river that reaches the sea. Each of these major rivers also have a number of smaller tributaries. There are also a number of smaller rivers in the region. The naming conventions that determine whether a body of water is classified as a river, stream or creek, often seem to have been applied without any qualification, so that in some cases a 'river' may actually be smaller than a 'stream' or 'creek'.

Two tributaries of the Wairau, the Branch and the Waihopai Rivers have hydroelectric schemes owned by Trustpower which contribute to electricity supply in the region. Water is taken from a number of rivers in the region for irrigation, particularly of vineyards.

While much smaller than the three largest rivers, the Taylor River and Opawa rivers are especially significant to Blenheim.

Under the old provincial boundaries, Marlborough extended south to the Conway River, and the Clarence River fell within the region. Under current local government administrative boundaries, these rivers now fall largely within the Kaikoura District, however the Clarence has a number of tributaries within the current Marlborough District in addition to historical relevance to Marlborough.

List of Marlborough Rivers and their Tributaries

This list includeds named rivers in Marlborough in a roughly north to south direction, with tributaries listed in the order of their confluence.