Structural, tectonic and climatic control of the fluvial geomorphology of the Manawatu River west of the Manawatu Gorge

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Massey University
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The Manawatu River is one of the major rivers of the North Is1and of New Zealand, draining a catchment of 2,296 square miles. The river is over 120 miles long and is one of the few rivers in the world to rise on one side on an axial mountain range, flow through the range and enter the sea on the opposite side. (See Fig.1.) The Manawatu River, rising on the eastern flanks of the Ruahine Range flows south to the 'Dannevirke Depression' (Lillie, 1953, 89) where it Joins the northeastwards-flowing Mangahao, Mangatainoka and Tiraumea Rivers. These rivers with catchments on the eastern side of the Tararua-Ruahine Range, drain an elongated basin which extends from north of Dannevirke to south of Eketahuna. They join the Manawatu River in the Dannevirke Depression then flow westwards across the Tararua-Ruahine Range in the Manawatu Gorge to the Kairanga alluvial plain. Although only one-third of the river's catchment lies to the west of the axial range, the river here has an attenuated course of 63 miles, a little more than half its total length. Between February and April 1967 the writer completed a preliminary study of the terraces along the Manawatu River, between the Manawatu Gorge and the river mouth at Foxton. Investigations revealed that the best terrace development existed on the ten miles between the Gorge and Palmerston North whereas, in the lower reaches, terrace development is limited by prevalence of flooding, the swampy nature of the terrain and the progradation of the coastline. The unstable sand dunes of the coastal belt have also masked most of the terrace series in the lower reaches of the river.
Alluvial plains, Geomorphology, Manawatu, Manawatu River, New Zealand, Research Subject Categories::NATURAL SCIENCES::Earth sciences