Birds of the Wairarapa and where to see them
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Kourarau Dam

Kourarau Dam
Kourarau Dam

This artificial dam high in the Maungarakis was developed in the 1920s by the Wairarapa Electric Power Board to supply water for two small power stations which still with their original machinery produce electricity to this day. Two surge towers mark the tunnel carrying water to these. The dam is some 20 hectares in extent and about 6 metres at its deepest. The southern end, where the feeding stream enters is shallow and rushes and other vegetation provide good shelter for nesting ducks and Canada Goose. This is a popular fishing spot for both Rainbow and Brown Trout. There is also duck hunting here and it is best to avoid visiting in the season (May - June).

Birds to look for: Black Swan, Canada Goose, New Zealand Dabchick, Black Shag, Little Shag, Little Black Shag, Mallard, Australasian Shoveler, Grey Teal, Paradise Shelduck, Pied Stilt, Spur-winged Plover, Australasian Harrier, Welcome Swallow and Australian Magpie. Canada Goose poses a problem to local farmers as it breeds rapidly and consumes and spoils alot of pasture.

How to get there

Kourarau Dam map
From the Gladstone bridge, pass the Gladstone Inn on your left, and continue until you come to a T-junction with the Longbush Road and here turn left. Pass the Admiral Road turn off, continue past the Gladstone School and turn right into road marked Te Wharau, Flatpoint, Glenburn. Climb up through the gorge passing first surge tower on your left and soon after passing second one on your right cross a small bridge and turn into a cattlestop gateway marked Kourarau Dam Lake. 200 metres along this gravel road is a parking area on the lakeside.


For more tourist information on this region, please check the Tourism Wairarapa Web site (

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