Lake Rerewhataaitu is located south of Lake Tarawera, but is accessed from off SH 38 which runs off SH5 south of Rotorua. The lake and the surrounding recreation reserves offer a tranquil environment for many species including 46 different bird species - 9 of these classified as threatened. Some of these species include breeding populations of dabchicks, scaup and the largest breeding population of banded dotterel in the Rotorua Ecological District. Lake Rerewhakaaitu is a shallow lake formed nearly 11,000 years ago when volcanic eruptions from Mount Tarawera blocked water flow. The total area of the lake is 530 Ha and the total catchment area is 5290 Ha. The average depth of the lake is 7m and at its deepest point the lake is 15m.
Rerewhakaaitu means the lake of "wandering spirits." The land surrounding this lake, rich with the volcanic soils from the Tarawera eruption, was the last of the developed farming areas of the Rotorua District.
As at June 2016, farmers in the Lake Rerewhakaaitu catchment and other farmers in the outer catchment of Lake Tarawera are currently working towards updating their Nutrient Management Plans to bring them in line with industry best practice. This is a voluntary effort from the farmers, who have established a successful community group to work together on water quality issues. The Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes Programme provide financial and staff support to the community group to assist in making the effort successful. The current TLI is 3.5 compared to its target of 3.6.
The primary focus of the catchment plan has been to prepare and implement a nutrient management plan for each farm. Key actions for managing land uses have included:
- Measure current nutrient levels
- Develop a nutrient budget
- Develop individual nutrient management plans to identify where reductions could be met
- Implement agreed mitigations
- Independent mitigation auditing