Rangitata

Rangitata River

The Rangitata River flows southeast for 120 kilometres from the Southern Alps, entering the Pacific Ocean 30 kilometres northeast of Timaru. The river has a catchment area of 1,773 km2 and a mean annual flow of 95 m³/s at Klondyke.

The Māori name "Rangitata" (Rakitata) has been variously translated as "day of lowering clouds", "close sky", and "the side of the sky".

Before the Rangitata River enters the Canterbury Plains, part of it is diverted to the Rangitata Diversion Race (RDR) for irrigation and hydroelectric generation. The RDR was built between 2 April 1937 and 1944, and supplies water to the Montalto and Highbank schemes before joining the Rakaia River.

Towards its mouth, the river splits into two streams, forming a large delta island (Rangitata Island).