Lake Te Koo Utu

Located in the heart of Cambridge, the Lake Te Koo Utu reserve is a unique and significant space characterised by its walking trails, heritage features, picnic areas and scenery.

Improving the health of the lake and telling the park's history is one of our community's priorities. The new concept plan aims to:

  • Improve water quality of Lake Te Koo Utu and waterways leading to Karāpiro Stream and the Waikato River
  • Recognise historical and cultural significance of Lake Te Koo Utu
  • Enhance biodiversity
  • Improve play and recreation options
  • Make better connections between Lake Te Koo Utu and the Cambridge community

What’s happening now?

A concept plan has been developed for Lake Te Koo Utu in partnership with mana whenua and the community. The plan proposed the following changes:

  • Enhanced wetland area at the western side of the lake to improve the water quality by containing sediments within the wetland and filtering nutrients. This will also provide habitat for biodiversity.
  • A new bund to separate the wetland area from the rest of the lake with a boardwalk over it. The boardwalk and other areas around the reserve would have educational signage about the ecology and cultural significance of Lake Te Koo Utu.
  • Native vegetation planted along the existing lake edge in place of the current retaining wall to prevent further erosion and improve the lake’s water quality and ecosystem.
  • A covered pavilion / function space to provide a venue for community gatherings and family celebrations that would also serve as a representation of cultural significance of the site.
  • Playgrounds – updated playground on Thornton Road and a new natural playground (māra hūpara) grounded in ecology and Māori traditions and history on the lower terrace.
  • Transformation of the gateways to the reserve – including a gateway at the eastern side of the lake to represent mana whenua’s identity, heritage and culture.

We'd also look to set up a volunteer group to help with restorative planting. It’s clear after chatting to the community that there is a huge amount of support to get this work underway.


You told us...

It was clear from the responses received through the consultation process that the option proposed by Council to implement the full Concept Plan for Lake Te Koo Utu was supported by the community.

This option will:

  • improve water quality and the habitat of Lake Te Koo utu
  • improve the overall visitor experience
  • acknowledge the significant of the serve to mana whenua
  • improve the natural ecosystem
  • provide education on the history and significant of the area
  • improve habitat connectivity to the Karāpiro Hully, the green belt and the Waikato River, and
  • provide a progressive approach to the renewal of a comprehensive stormwater consent.

To remove further financial burden on ratepayers, $4,049,340 will be funded through asset sales. Council will also look to set up a volunteer group to help with restoration planting.


The 2021-31 Long Term Plan will be adopted by Council in June 2021.



Our proposal for the next 10 years - let’s look at the options



Status quo - No additional development at Lake Te Koo Utu



Full implementation of the Lake Te Koo Utu concept plan

This option:

  • Does not recognise or achieve mana whenua aspirations for Lake Te Koo Utu
  • Does not deliver our community outcomes of being environmental and cultural champions

This option:

  • Improves water quality and the habitat of Lake Te Koo Utu
  • Improves the visitor experience
  • Makes some headway in implementing the changes outlined in the plan
  • Acknowledges the significance of the reserve to mana whenua
  • Improves the natural ecosystem
  • Provides education on the history and significance of the area
  • Improves habitat connectivity to Karāpiro Gully, the green belt and the Waikato River
  • Provides a progressive approach to the renewal of a comprehensive stormwater consent






$5,855,892 with $4,049,340 funding from asset sales

impact on rates:


impact on rates:






Year 1 = $422,940 

Year 2 = $215,633 

Year 3 = $372,484 

Year 4-10 yearly average = $113,642


We prefer OPTION 2.

Option 2 will enables us to partner with mana whenua to acknowledge and share their connection to Lake Te Koo Utu. It improves the overall visitor experience and, more importantly, improves the water quality of the lake and the water flowing into the Waikato River through Karāpiro Stream.

Option 2 also enhances the biodiversity of the lake and its surrounds.


The most important thing is to improve the water quality. Be careful not to do too many things that spoil the current peaceful setting and uniqueness of the lake.
The magic of the lake is the fact you go through nature to get there - maintaining current paths and enhancing where needed would suffice. Focus should be on the wetlands, community/cultural hub by the car park and the health of the environment.
It would be great see even more native planting on the banks to help strengthen them and protect from erosion.


What do you think of our plan to seek funding for Lake Te Koo Utu?

(please drag the arrow to indicate your selection)

    Hate it

    (Strongly disagree)

    Could be worse


    On the fence


    I like it


    Love it

    (Strongly agree)

    We want to hear your thoughts on the proposed options! Select your preference from the options below:

    Want to add further info? You can do this when you finish up.



    Waipa District Council
    Private Bag 2402,
    Te Awamutu, 3840
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