This data set reports on trends for 15 coastal and estuarine water quality measures, grouped below by type, monitored at sites across Aotearoa New Zealand between 2006 and 2020:

  • nutrient – ammoniacal nitrogen, nitrate-nitrite nitrogen, total nitrogen (unfiltered), dissolved reactive phosphorus, and total phosphorus (unfiltered)
  • microbiological – faecal coliforms, Enterococci, and chlorophyll-a
  • optical – visual clarity, turbidity, and suspended solids (inorganic and organic)
  • physico-chemical – dissolved oxygen, pH, salinity, and temperature.

We present trends for the period 2011 to 2020.

Coastal and estuarine ecosystems are affected by changes in water quality.

Nutrients
The two main nutrients of concern in coastal and estuarine ecosystems are nitrogen and, to a lesser degree, phosphorus. An overload of nutrients (eutrophication) can lead to algal blooms that can kill marine life by depleting oxygen levels. Some bloom-forming algal species also contain toxins that can harm marine life, and can pass through food chains to humans (for example, via shellfish poisoning).

Microbiological
Abundant Enterococci _and faecal coliform bacteria indicate the possible presence of human faecal pathogens in coastal waters and represent the risk of infectious disease. Chlorophyll-_a is a measure of phytoplankton biomass and is a primary indicator of eutrophication.

Optical
High suspended sediment concentrations are associated with estuarine and coastal sedimentation, reduced light levels in benthic (seabed) environments, and reduced feeding rates and health of estuarine and coastal animals (Lowe et al., 2015). Visual clarity and turbidity are monitored because light affects primary production, plant and animal distributions and ecological health, aesthetic quality, and recreational values (Davies-Colley et al., 2003).

Physico-chemical
Dissolved oxygen is fundamental to supporting marine life. Low levels of dissolved oxygen can have adverse effects on aquatic fauna, from reduced growth rates to death from lack of oxygen (Tomasetti & Gobler, 2020). Decreased pH results from the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere by seawater but can also reflect local processes caused by eutrophication (Cai et al., 2011; Fraser et al., 2021). Changes in the pH of seawater can have harmful effects on marine life, impacting chemical communication, reproduction, and growth. The building of skeletons in marine organisms is particularly sensitive to acidity, so acidification (lower pH) of sea waters can be harmful for organisms such as shellfish and corals (Fabry et al., 2008). Salinity provides information on the freshwater content of coastal waters. Water temperature is important as it controls biochemical processes and affects the balance of parameters such as dissolved oxygen levels. As a result, seawater temperature determines distributions of many marine plants and animals (Kleisner et al., 2017).

Adapted by Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand to provide for environmental reporting transparency. Dataset used to develop the "Coastal and estuarine water quality, trends" indicator (available at ++Coastal and estuarine water quality | Stats NZ++).

Layer ID 111131
Data type Vector point
Feature count 3024
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

DoC marine mammal sanctuaries (2016 report)

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10800
48
Added
19 Oct 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 19 Oct 2016.

New Zealand’s four million km2 marine environment is diverse, with a range of coastal habitats and offshore seabed environments. There are also many marine species unique to New Zealand. Marine protected areas conserve or manage some of these unique habitats and species, while a range of other tools also provide marine protection. We report on the area covered by these tools as an indirect measure to understand the state of the marine environment.
Marine mammal sanctuaries are one of the marine protection tools used. They are designed to protect New Zealand’s unique range of marine mammals by reducing harmful human impacts, particularly in vulnerable areas such as migratory routes and breeding grounds. Each marine mammal sanctuary has a specific set of restrictions based on the species that occupy, or pass through that particular area.

Layer ID 53495
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 9
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Freshwater pests: Gypsywort

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10315
15
Added
19 Feb 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 19 Feb 2016.

Freshwater plant and animal pests can have significant negative impacts on ecosystem health by reducing indigenous biodiversity through predation and competition, and destabilising aquatic habitats. Freshwater plant pests can cause economic losses through blocking water intakes for hydroelectricity generation, impeded drainage or irrigation. In addition, pests can affect the suitability for recreational activities.
This dataset relates to the ""Freshwater pests"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website.

Layer ID 53317
Data type Vector point
Feature count 77
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Lightning recorders

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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18243
56
Added
18 Feb 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 18 Feb 2016.

Lightning is the discharge of electricity from thunderstorms. Ground strikes can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, and injure or kill people and livestock. Lightning is often associated with other severe weather events, such as strong wind gusts. Thunderstorms may increase in frequency and intensity with climate change.

This dataset shows the location of sensors in the New Zealand Lightning Detection Network (NZLDN), run by MetService.

Sensors around the country detect lightning over the New Zealand land mass and a short distance out to sea. These sensors detect very accurately the electrical discharge, location, and time, as well as noting other parameters such as current strength. The NZLDN records both cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-ground strikes.

Layer ID 53312
Data type Vector point
Feature count 10
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Lake water quality, 2009–13

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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13480
94
Added
17 Feb 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 17 Feb 2016.

"The Lake Trophic Level Index (TLI) characterises the life supporting capacity of a lake based on nutrient enrichment. In general, the higher the TLI score, the poorer the water quality in the lake. Lakes with extremely poor quality are rarely suitable for recreation and provide poor quality habitat for aquatic species.
Care should be taken when interpreting these results. Monitored lakes consist of about 4 percent of all New Zealand lakes, and programmes may focus on those that have poor water quality or are at risk due to the type of land use in their catchment.
After checking for data consistency, the lakes considered suitable for national comparison are sparsely and unevenly distributed, with gaps in the Manawatu, Taranaki, Tasman, Marlborough, Otago, and West Coast regions. The lakes considered in the analysis are located mainly in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay, and Canterbury.
This dataset relates to the ""Lake water quality: trophic level index"" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website.
"

Layer ID 53310
Data type Vector point
Feature count 86
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Recruitment of indigenous tree sp black beech 2002–2014

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9949
6
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"The rates of establishment (recruitment) of indigenous tree species vary across New Zealand. Changes in the state of the environment (such as from browsing pests, large-scale weather events, or climate change) may change the rates of recruitment of particular tree species. This in turn may alter forest processes. Repeated surveys of the distribution of recruitment rates can alert us to impacts on our indigenous forests.

This data set relates to the "Distribution of indigenous trees" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website."

Layer ID 52782
Data type Vector point
Feature count 195
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Mortality of indigenous tree sp black beech 2002–2014

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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11975
19
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

"The rates of death (mortality) of indigenous tree species vary across New Zealand. Changes in the state of the environment (such as from browsing pests, large-scale weather events, or climate change) may change the rates of mortality of particular tree species. This in turn may alter forest processes. Repeated surveys of the distribution of mortality rates can alert us to impacts on our indigenous forests.

This data set relates to the "Distribution of indigenous trees" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website."

Layer ID 52769
Data type Vector point
Feature count 195
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

DoC marine mammal sanctuaries

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10616
90
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

The location and extent of Marine mammal sanctuaries in the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone.

Layer ID 52759
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 9
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Benthic_Protected_Areas

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10735
45
Updated
03 Jul 2018

This dataset was last updated on MfE Data Service on 03 Jul 2018.

From the original files MFB0174_1_region_TM and MFB0174_1_rectangle_TM.

Sourced from MPI in May 2012. Contact Alana Corney.

Layer ID 52758
Data type Vector multipolygon
Feature count 17
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed

Occurrence of non-native species in monitored ports

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand

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10634
39
Added
11 Jan 2016

This dataset was first added to MfE Data Service on 11 Jan 2016.

The number of exotic species observed in New Zealand's monitored ports of first entry for international vessels

Layer ID 52749
Data type Vector point
Feature count 11
Services Vector Query API, Web Feature Service (WFS), Catalog Service (CS-W), data.govt.nz Atom Feed
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