Buller River

The Buller River is a river in the South Island of New Zealand.[1] One of the country's longest rivers, it flows for 170 kilometres (110 mi) from Lake Rotoiti through the Buller Gorge and into the Tasman Sea near the town of Westport. As Rotoiti itself is fed by the Travers River it can be claimed that the Buller's source is at the headwaters of the Travers, on the northern slopes of Mount Travers in the Saint Arnaud Range. The Paparoa Range separates the Buller River from the Grey River. A number of flora and fauna are found in the Buller catchment, many of these extending onto the slopes of the Paparoa Range.

Buller River near Berlins
The Buller River system
Etymologynamed for Charles Buller
Native nameKawatiri
CountryNew Zealand
RegionTasman, West Coast
CitiesSaint Arnaud, Murchison, Westport
Physical characteristics
SourceSouthern Alps (Saint Arnaud Range)
  locationLake Rotoiti, New Zealand
  coordinates41°48′10″S 172°49′20″E
MouthTasman Sea
Karamea Bight, New Zealand
41°43′45″S 171°35′20″E
0 m (0 ft)
Length177 km (110 mi)
  average429 m3/s (15,100 cu ft/s)
Basin features
  leftTravers, Gowan, Mangles, Matakitaki, Maruia, Inangahua, Blackwater, Ohikanui
  rightHope, Owen, Matiri

The river is named after Charles Buller, Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (UK) and director of the New Zealand Company, a UK-based company in the early 1800s with a royal charter supporting colonization efforts of New Zealand. The original Māori name for the Buller is Kawatiri.

The Buller River upstream from Murchison along with the Mangles River are popular for whitewater kayaking and recreational fishing.[2] State Highway 6 follows the river for much of its length.

This river has an annual mean flow of 429 cubic metres per second (15,100 cu ft/s)[citation needed] and boasts the highest flood flow of any New Zealand river which is over 14,000 cubic metres per second (490,000 cu ft/s)[citation needed].


The Buller River

The Buller has several major tributaries. These include (in order from Lake Rotoiti) the Gowan River, the Matakitaki River, the Maruia River, and the Inangahua River. Other smaller tributaries include the Hope, Owen, Mangles, Matiri, Blackwater, Ohikaiti River, and Ohikanui River.

In July 2001 the Buller Water Conservation Order came into force, listing the waters of the Buller River and tributaries that are to be retained in their natural state or protected because of the outstanding characteristics, features and values of the waters.[3]

Line notes

  1. Encyclopedia of New Zealand (1966)
  2. Marion Hobbs. 2001
  3. "Water conservation orders". Archived from the original on 10 February 2013. Retrieved 10 August 2007.