Kanakana Monitoring

Our Vision: A sustainable, healthy and abundant fishery that provides for the customary fishing needs of the community.



Culturally, the Mataura Falls are significant to local Māori as an area of traditional and contemporary food gathering. The falls were named Te Au-Nui-Pihapiha-Kanakana by Ngāti Mamoe rangatira Parapara Te Whenua due to the mass amount of kanakana (lamprey: Geotria australis) that was known to congregate there. The significance of the customary harvest for both tuna (eels: Anguilla spp.) and kanakana was recognised by the Crown with the gazetting of the mātaitai reserve on the Mataura River in August 2005. The 8km mātaitai reserve includes the Mataura Falls and the Mataura Weir. The Matura Falls are a natural barrier that have been modified and reduced for industrial purposes. Upstream from the Mataura Falls is the Mataura Weir, a concrete Ū-shaped structure, believed to have been constructed in the 1920s or 1930.

To find out more about the Mataura Mataitai click here.


Activities and Objectives

  • Monitor the seasonal migration times of kanakana
  • Visually identify any effects the Alliance Hydro Scheme has on migrating kanakana in the Mataura River.
  • Once kanakana have been identified monitoring will expand into surrounding tributaries to determine whether or not kanakana are actively migrating up.


With time, there are aims to move towards more detailed investigations, such as determining kanakana spawning locations, spatial distribution and temporal trends.


The Great Kanakana Falls

Explore Mataura Falls, known traditionally as Te Au-nui-pihapiha-kanakana, the great falls of kanakana, and find out why this area is significant to mana whenua.

A Partnership Approach to Environmental Restoration.

This work is made possible with the generous support of our community and partners:


News & Updates

Robin Restoration Volunteer Programme

Robin Restoration Donations Programme