A rāhui has been placed on parts of Lake Taupō and the upper Waikato River following the wastewater spill on Tuesday.

Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board imposed the rāhui from 9am today and said it would remain in place until it deemed appropriate to lift it.

The equivalent of about a third of an Olympic-sized swimming pool of waste, including sewage (about 880,000 litres), flowed into Lake Taupō over a 90-minute period after a water main burst creating a washout that broke a sewerage pipe.

The site of the water main break and wastewater spill on the Taupo lakefront on Tuesday.
The site of the water main break and wastewater spill on the Taupo lakefront on Tuesday.

Taupō District Council, Waikato Regional Council and the board - which owns the lakebed - are looking at some cleanup measures for the spill, which spread along 200m of the lakefront and down Waikato River.

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Board chief executive Topia Rameka said the rāhui would ensure that Tapuaeharuru Bay and the Waikato River to Aratiatia – the areas affected by the spill – had an opportunity to rest and recover so that eventually recreational activities in the area could resume.

"Our immediate concern is for the health and safety of our community, and the protection and restoration of the mauri of our taonga – Lake Taupō and the Waikato awa.

Waste flows down Waikato River. Photo / Supplied
Waste flows down Waikato River. Photo / Supplied

"This is a significant event for our community. We must now work collectively and take every measure to ensure our natural resources and critical services are protected."

Rameka said they would certainly be asking the appropriate questions in due course to the relevant authorities.

"We all need to understand why this happened, the response to it, and how this can be mitigated into the future.

Map showing rahui on parts of Lake Taupo and the upper Waikato Awa following the wastewater spill. Photo / Supplied
Map showing rahui on parts of Lake Taupo and the upper Waikato Awa following the wastewater spill. Photo / Supplied

"In the meantime, we are working with our partners to ensure services to our community continue, and that all steps are being taken to rectify the current situation."

The board urged the community to respect the rāhui and to not gather any food (trout, kōura, watercress) from the northern end of Tapuaeharuru Bay and the Waikato River to Aratiatia.

The rāhui also restricted public access to the immediate location of the incident to ensure workers a safe and unimpeded area to operate while work is under way.

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No other restrictions are in place for lake users.