A rāhui put in place after four drownings in the Manawatū River at Ahimate Reserve in Palmerston North over the holidays has been lifted.
Rangitāne o Manawatū representative Chris Whaiapu says the rāhui was put in place as a temporary measure to honour the families and protect the mauri (life force) of the awa where the bodies lay.
"The lifting of the rāhui is a necessary part of the healing process for the families and the community," Whaiapu says.
"We acknowledge the public for their respect and support of the rāhui."
The rāhui was lifted on Tuesday morning by kaumātua Pāpā Manu Kawana.
Palmerston North City Council acting chief executive Chris Dyhrberg says Rangitāne, the council, Horizons Regional Council and police have been working together since the drownings occurred.
"Over the coming weeks and months we will continue to work together to determine what we can all do to reduce the chance of a tragedy like this occurring again," Dyhrberg says.
New signs have been installed at Ahimate Reserve reminding people rivers are unpredictable. The signs explain that at this site the river gets deep quickly and has a strong current, children need to be closely supervised, and anybody entering the water should check for hazards such as unstable cliffs and sunken logs or debris.
Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney says rivers are dynamic entities, particularly after heavy rain, which can change a river's flow as well as its course.
"Rivers should always be treated with caution as they can change from day to day and hazards may not always be obvious. People should consider their abilities before getting in," he says.
"A change in environmental conditions can also create risks such as increased bacteria levels."
Ahimate is one of 80 swim spots Horizons monitors throughout the region for water quality.
"While there are many things people should consider when approaching the awa, we do not want to take away from its mana," McCartney says.
"A significant focus of the Manawatū River Leaders' Accord is to engage our communities with the awa and to improve its health.
"With temperatures predicted to increase over the next few years, and as water quality continues to improve and amenities around the river are enhanced, more people will be looking to swim in the river.
"Collectively, we will continue to co-ordinate efforts not just on the immediate cautionary measures but longer-term solutions such as water safety educational opportunities."