A Pirinoa woman says falling river levels are putting native fish populations at risk.

Vanessa Tipoki has been monitoring the level of the Tauanui River for weeks and says she has never seen the river so low.

Near her property water levels have fallen so drastically, particularly in the afternoons, that she has been making nightly trips to relocate fish trapped in shrinking pools or hidden under rocks.

Ms Tipoki said she has never seen the river so low in the eight years she has lived on the property.

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"This is the first time I've freaked out," she says.

"My heart is always in my mouth when I come down here because there were just thousands of fish dying ... I've been watching it for the last two weeks and it's heartbreaking."

In previous summers the river had been knee-high deep, enough to swim in.

Her father-in-law had lived in the area for about 40 years and had only seen it this dry once before.

She is rallying the community to help relocate the trapped fish, with several others coming to the river to help move the freshwater crayfish, cockabullies, eels and other native fish.

"We've got some amazing creatures in the river and it seems a waste to let them die."

By 8pm every night a long stretch of the river was totally dry, she said.

Several staff members from the regional council had visited the river to investigate the plummeting water levels and the South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group were also aware of the situation, Ms Tipoki said.

The river flows from the Aorangi ranges, and Ms Tipoki said the water quality was good.

Ms Tipoki and her family were doing their best to conserve water, having "two-seconds" showers and recycling dishwater. "We all need to play our part in conserving water and and hopefully raise the profile of our river, which is important."

SURVIVAL: Vanessa Tipoki is trying to save native fish, like this cockabully, from dying as the Tauanui River dries up. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA
SURVIVAL: Vanessa Tipoki is trying to save native fish, like this cockabully, from dying as the Tauanui River dries up. PHOTO/LYNDA FERINGA