The Hurunui River:

On This Programme

The Hurunui river.

Flowing from alpine lakes in the Southern Alps, eastwards over North Canterbury and into the Pacific Ocean just south of Cheviot, the Hurunui river was once the main route to the West Coast for both Maori and European travellers. Now it's amongst the many Canterbury rivers whose future is uncertain.

In this programme Amelia Nurse talks to the people who live, work and play alongside and on the river.

In part one, Chris Todd from Forest and Bird talks to Amelia about the geological history of the Hurunui and what its various flows and tributaries mean for the ecology in the area. On the south branch of the river they meet some feisty local fauna and try to spot some of the river's famous brown trout.

In part two Amelia meets members of the NZ Recreational Canoeing Association. She takes a ride with Chris in Hugh Canard's cataraft and finds out first-hand what Ian Gill-Fox tells her appeals to kayakers about riding the river.

Amelia takes a ride in Hugh Canard’s cataraftMad Kayaker

Amelia and HughMad Kayaker

Kayaker with didymo in the foreground

Kayaker with brown didymo in foreground

In part three, Chris and Amelia visit some of the locals. At Lake Taylor Station they meet Rosemary Gunn, whose family have farmed in the area since the 1950s. Then they meet Claudia Weersing at Pyramid Valley Vineyards for a wander up to the vines - which haven't been irrigated for four years. And finally they visit artists Sam Mahon and Alison Erickson who live in a converted mill and are devoted campaigners for river conservation.

Hurunui Valley