About Porirua Harbour
Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour, commonly known as Porirua Harbour, is a natural inlet in the south-western coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The harbour is within the main urban area of the Wellington Region, and is surrounded by the city of Porirua, with the city centre to south of the harbour.
History of Porirua Harbour
A succession of tribes lived around the twin inlets of Porirua Harbour. The name Porirua, a corruption of Pari-rua, means ‘the tide sweeping up both reaches’. The Ngāi Tara people were succeeded by Ngāti Kahungunu, then Ngāti Ira who, in turn, were displaced in the 1820s by Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
The Porirua Harbour formed when westward flowing rivers were drowned by rising postglacial sea levels approximately 10000-14000 years ago.The 1855 Wairarapa earthquake caused tectonic uplift in the Pāuatahanui arm of the inlet changing the shoreline and reducing navigability. Problems were compounded by sedimentation from deforestation from the late 1850’s to 1900 and sedimentation that has continued as a result of ongoing urban development.
Similarly, in the 1950s reclamations along Titahi Bay Road and the creation of more land for the Central Business District destroyed the natural shoreline at the top of the Onepoto arm. Modification of the Porirua Stream through concrete and rock channelling in the lower reaches altered the natural mouth of the stream which subsequently led to deposition of ever increasing amounts of heavily polluted sediment into a growing tidal delta. Thankfully, plans are underway to create a shared pathway along much of the foreshore to prevent erosion, protect the seagrass meadows, enhance access and generally improve the health of the harbour and its edge.
Part of the Porirua Inlet was reclaimed for a causeway carrying the North Island Main Trunk railway when the section between Porirua and Mana was straightened and double tracked. The new section of the Kapiti Line was opened on 7 November 1960. A new Paremata Railway Station and bridge over the entrance to the Pauatahanui Inlet were required.
The line no longer followed the curves of the shoreline bays north of Porirua, and three shallow lagoons on the land side of the new causeway were created. When State Highway 1 was re-aligned and straightened in the 1970s to run alongside the rail line, these lagoons were partially filled in. Aotea Lagoon was developed into a recreational area, albeit very polluted.
The name of the harbour was officially altered to Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour in August 2014.
Porirua Harbour Wildlife Cam
The new Porirua Wildlife Cam is situated on the Onepoto Arm of the harbour. Numerous streams and lagoons feed into the Harbour from Titahi Bay, the lagoons fed from Aotea and Papakowhai (Aotea, Okiwi and Papakowhai lagoons) and the main streams converging into the harbour.
Low tide in the harbour brings in waders such as Royal spoonbill | Kōtuku ngutupapa, Variable oystercatcher | Tōrea pango, Pied stilt | Poaka , White-faced heron | Matuku moana. Along with wading birds you will also be able to see Pied shag | Kāruhiruhi, Black shag | Māpunga, Little shag | Kawaupaka, Southern black-backed gull | Karoro, Red-billed Gull | Tarāpunga, Canada goose | Kuihi and Paradise shelduck | Pūtangitangi.