Porirua Harbour is located 21km north of Wellington city. The harbour was originally named Parirua which translates to "twin flowings of the tide".
There are two arms to the harbour. Onepoto flows from the Paremata bridges south and ends at the shoreline of Porirua City. This inlet is popular with rowers, powerboats, small dinghies and personal water craft users.
The second arm is Pauatahanui Inlet and stretches eastwards from the Paremata bridges past the suburb of Whitby and contains a world-class wetland reserve area, of the same name, at its head. This inlet is a popular spot for yachting, water skiing (the ski club is on the northern side) and general boating.
Check out our recreational water quality monitoring pages to see where it's healthiest to swim.
The Inlet is the only large estuarine wetland left in the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand and covers an area of 4,500 hectares, of which about 1,100 hectares are tidal flats. The inlet's catchment covers an area of 100 square kilometres.
The Inlet is well recognised for its high ecological, aesthetic and recreational values. It is classified as a Site of Special Wildlife Interest by the Department of Conservation and the Regional Coastal Plan recognises Pauatahanui Inlet as an area of Significant Conservation Value
Greater Wellington and Porirua City Council are working with the community to ensure the sustainable management of this important natural resource. In 2000 both council s adopted the Pauatahanui Inlet Action Plan as a blueprint for future direction. This plan identified the key issues facing the Inlet and the actions necessary to address these.
Two community groups that have a strong interest in the well-being of the Inlet are the Guardians of Pauatahanui Inlet and the Pauatahanui Inlet Community Trust. The Guardian's website has useful information about the Inlet and the activities of the Guardians.
The Inlet is a busy recreational area as well and is especially suitable for less experienced windsurfers.
Large areas of sand banks are exposed at low tide and care must be taken to follow the channels.
There can be strong tidal currents under the road and rail bridges at Paremata and therefore caution should be used in this area.
Swimming is strongly discouraged in this area because of the tidal flows and large number of vessel movements.
The Pauatahanui Inlet Community Trust makes a documentary each month - giving a lookinside the world of Porirua Harbour and discussing the issues facing its future. Click here to view this years episodes.
To the north of Paremata there are two good swimming beaches, Plimmerton Beach and Karehana Bay.
The southern end of Plimmerton Beach is exposed in a northwesterly wind and proves very popular with more experienced windsurfers.
Titahi Bay on the seaward coast is popular for swimming, and provides surfing when the conditions are right. There is good diving and fishing off the rocks.
Towards the northern end of the beach there is a fossilised forest partly buried under the sand. Parts of the forest are exposed at different times due to sand movement and cars are not to be driven on this part of the beach.
The Tokaapapa Reef (or Grandfather rocks) off Plimmerton, Mana Island and Hunters Bank are all popular fishing spots. Close attention should always be given to weather conditions and check the weather forecast before setting out.
Mana Island is a Department of Conservation reserve and permission must be obtained from the Department before landing.
Either go tothe DOC website for more information on Mana Island or call the Wellington conservation centre, telephone 04 472 7356.
The council has a monitoring site at the Mana Crusing Club that measures the height of the tide and the water temperature. The tide height is measured above Chart Datum, which is the theoretical lowest tide.