Health Warnings | Ngā whakatūpatotanga

Public health warnings are provided by Toi Te Ora Public Health to help the Bay of Plenty and Lakes communities manage and monitor local public health issues.

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Recreational water

Algal blooms

A number of lakes in the Rotorua area (such as Lake Rotoehu, Lake Okaro and Lake Rotoiti) are prone to blooms of blue-green algae that may be toxic and harmful to health. These lakes are monitored by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council from October to March and health warnings are issued by Toi Te Ora if test results show there is a bloom of potentially toxic blue-green algae. However, the lakes are not monitored during the winter months and algal blooms may occur rapidly and unpredictably. Therefore, it’s always best to look before you leap and avoid contact with the lake water if it:

  • looks discoloured,
  • has an unusual smell,
  • has green or brown particles suspended in it
  • has visible surface scum.


Current algal bloom health warnings

Advice below is current and any changes in status are updated on this page on the same day.

Issued Area Public health advice

8 March 2024

Lake Rotoehu

Avoid recreational water contact


Temporary bacterial contamination health warnings

Issued Area Public health advice
2 November 2023 Kopurererua Stream at McCord Ave in Tauranga Avoid recreational water contact

Go to Land Air Water Aotearoa for long term grades and water quality information on beaches, lakes and rivers in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts.



The local Medical Officer of Health advises the public to not eat eels from Kopeopeo canal and Orini stream in Whakatāne due to elevated levels of dioxin in the eels and canal.


Heavy rain
It’s best to avoid swimming in rivers, streams, lakes, harbour areas and at beaches for at least 48 hours after heavy rain. There is likely to be contamination from rural and urban run-off in waterways after heavy rain. To avoid illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting, skin infections or ear infections, avoid swimming for at least 48 hours after heavy rain.



The Ministry for Primary Industries tests shellfish and seawater for toxic algae every week from popular shellfish gathering areas around New Zealand. If the shellfish are not safe to eat, they issue public health warnings and put up signs at affected beaches.

Check shellfish biotoxin alerts