Celebrating Wai in Waimakariri

This month, Waimakariri District Council is all about celebrating our precious wai – from water activities to mindful conservation. Get ready to dive in with us!

Get Poolside this Summer

We were promised a sizzling summer and so far, it has not disappointed! Thankfully, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hitting the pool.

Waimakariri has four pools operating throughout the district over the summer season. Two indoor pools - Dudley Aquatic Centre in Rangiora and Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre - and two outdoor seasonal pools in Oxford and Waikuku Beach.

With upwards of 25,000 visitors across our facilities in our busiest month last year it’s obvious that our residents love to swim, which is why we’ve got an option to suit everyone’s swimming style.

There have already been three tragic drownings in Aotearoa New Zealand this year!* In fact our drowning rates are worse than countries like Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom*. That’s why Waimakariri District Council has been part of Recreation Aotearoa’s Poolsafe programme since early in its inception. This means that not only are our teams trained to the highest standards, but we also undergo robust daily testing of our water quality at every facility.

A key part of our Poolsafe programme is ensuring even our smallest tamariki have water safety skills. The WaiSwim learn to swim programme is offered at Kaiapoi Aquatic Centre, Dudley Park Aquatic Centre and Oxford Community Aquatic Centre (summer months only).

WaiSwim is a registered Quality Swim School with Swimming New Zealand. The focus of our programme is to provide children and adults with a strong foundation of balance and body positioning in the water and then build on these skills. Learning to swim is a life skill and takes time. Bookings are open for Term 1 (2024) with lessons starting Monday 29 January 2024 – find out more on our website.

For those seasoned swimmers who love the health benefits of swimming, we’ve got everything from lane swimming to masters swimming to Aquarobics.

Aquarobics is a low impact and high energy form of exercise. It’s a great option for non-swimmers, anyone nursing an injury and for general fitness. We have three different programmes on offer at Dudley Park and Kaiapoi. Check out website for dates and times.

Finally, if you’re looking to make more of a splash than take a plunge, Waikuku Beach Paddling Pool is just the ticket. The pool features a graduated depth and several water features to keep the young and young at heart entertained. It is free to use and while our Aquatics staff maintain it daily, it is not lifeguarded.

It’s never been easier to cool off in Waimakariri.

*Data source: watersafetynz.org

Find out more about our Aquatic Centres

Meet our Staff

Zahra - Aquatics Team Member

zahra and her partnerTell us a bit about what you do?
I’m currently working out at the Oxford community pool over the summer season. Before this I worked at Dudley, and occasionally Kaiapoi lifeguarding and swim instructing even sometimes supervising.

How long have you worked at Waimakariri District Council?
I’ve worked for Waimakariri District Council for 3 and a bit years and counting!

How did you get into your job?
I trained when I was 15 as I knew I wanted to be a lifeguard, I actually got my award working at Amberley pool and then transferred over to Waimakariri District Council. I completed my swim instructor qualification there and shadowed the amazing instructors at Dudley and Kaiapoi.

What things do you like the most/least about your job?
I love the flexibility within the job: sometimes you're rostered for lifeguarding, and then you’ll be in the water teaching. It's great because it gives you a chance to either have that break away or get in and try something different.

Do you have a cool story you want to share?
With the 3 years I’ve worked at the Council, I’ve been able to buy a house with my partner at the age of 21. The work and the hours have been great, and are definitely worth the hard work. It does pay off!

Doggy Pool Party - Save the Date!

As Oxford’s Pool prepares to empty for the winter, we would like to invite our canine community in for a one-off event - a pooch-only plunge!

Sunday 10 March at 4pm-6pm at the Oxford Pool. $5 per dog.

Other Water Activities in Waimakariri

Beach Access

Waimakariri is lucky to have great beaches and the beautiful Ashley-Rakahuri Estuary.

Kairaki Beach and The Pines Beach, situated at the southern end of the District, close to the mouth of the Waimakariri River, are accessed via coastal car parks.

Further north, roads lead to Woodend Beach and the coastal dune area beyond Pegasus Town.

Waikuku Beach settlement is the gateway to the Waikuku Beach Surf Life Saving Club swimming beach and the Ashley-Rakahuri River mouth and estuary.

River Access

Visit the Environment Canterbury website for information on access, river flows, water quality, and other issues such as fly dumping and litter around the rivers.

Kaiapoi River Boat Ramps

The lower Kaiapoi River can be accessed by a public launch point at Askeaton Park (off Hall Street in Kaiapoi). Here the 20 metre-wide boat ramp is shared with the Waimakariri-Ashley Coastguard.

There is also a small launching point for dinghies and kayaks near Murphy Park, just west of the Mandeville Bridge.

Kairaki Beach Boat Ramp

There is a public boat launching ramp for access to the Waimakariri River located at the Kairaki Beach settlement at the end of Featherstone Ave.

Algal Bloom

Environment Canterbury monitor over 100 recreational sites in Canterbury during summer months. If there is an increased risk of cyanobacteria a health warning will be issued for the site by Te Mana Ora Community and Public Health.

Make sure you check Can I Swim here? before you jump in and know what to look for so you can keep the whole family safe.

What is the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw?

We want everyone to have a great experience on our beaches which is why we are currently reviewing the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw.

The Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw explains what activities are permitted on our beaches and what activities are prohibited.

There are also rules and guidelines around some of these activities and how they need to be carried out.

The key themes of the bylaw are:

  • Dogs on the beaches
  • Horse riding and training
  • Swimming at the beach
  • The Ashley Rakahuri Estuary
  • Vehicles on the beach
  • Camping and fires
  • Kite surfing and land yachts

If we all play our part we can ensure our beaches and wildlife stay safe and protected now and for the future.

Have your say on the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw

Beach Users Survey

As well as the Northern Pegasus Bay Bylaw Survey, Council is is also running the Beach Users Survey. This survey helps us to better understand how people use the beaches, what beaches they visit and when they visit them.

This information is important feedback to us when it comes to drafting strategies and policies around our beaches.

Over the Summer, keep your eye out for our posters on the beaches around our District, scan the QR code on the posters and it will take you to the survey.

Complete the Beach Users Survey

10 Easy Tips to Save Water

Summer in Waimakariri is a beautiful time, with long sunny days perfect for enjoying the outdoors. But with the warm weather comes increased water demand, putting pressure on our precious resources. Here are 10 easy tips to be more mindful about your summer water use:

At home

  • Fixing a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day.
  • Take shorter showers. Showering can use up to 18 litres of water a minute.
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. This can save 6 litres of water a minute.


  • Use a broom instead of water to clean the yard or driveway
  • Water early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid evaporation.
  • Keep your sprinkler low - water the grass, not the pavement.
  • Use a trigger device on the hose to stop and start water flow instantly
  • Mulch your garden to keep moisture in. Mulch can cut evaporation by up to 70 per cent.
  • Use a bucket of soapy water and a sponge to clean your car instead of a hose. This can save 10-15 litres of water a minute.
  • Report any leaks on the road or the footpath to the Council

Read more about Water Conservation

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