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Love Your Leith

What do you love about the Leith? Join the conversation to let us know!

Water of Leith / Ōwheo is a Dunedin icon.

The little river is part of Dunedin’s history and culture – and its future.

We're reaching the final stages of our long term project to reduce the risk and impact of flooding on the Leith. As we begin work on the last reach of the river, where it joins with the harbour, there is an exciting opportunity to enhance this area - and we want your input.

View of Leith from Forth St bridge

Infamous for its high concrete walls and "drain-like" environment, this section begins at Forth St next to Gregg's Coffee Factory, and flows past the Robertson Library, Dunedin School of Art, College of Education, past Forsyth Barr Stadium, and out into the Otago Harbour. We believe it has the potential to become a new public space for Dunedin.

We want to hear your ideas.

The big picture purpose of this project is to develop concepts for enhancement of amenity, public access, and ecology of the Forth St to Harbour reach of the Water of Leith. It also gives you the opportunity share your ideas on the how the look and feel of this section of the river could be.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!


How to have your say:

There's three ways you can give us your feedback. Explore the tabs below.

Water of Leith / Ōwheo is a Dunedin icon.

The little river is part of Dunedin’s history and culture – and its future.

We're reaching the final stages of our long term project to reduce the risk and impact of flooding on the Leith. As we begin work on the last reach of the river, where it joins with the harbour, there is an exciting opportunity to enhance this area - and we want your input.

View of Leith from Forth St bridge

Infamous for its high concrete walls and "drain-like" environment, this section begins at Forth St next to Gregg's Coffee Factory, and flows past the Robertson Library, Dunedin School of Art, College of Education, past Forsyth Barr Stadium, and out into the Otago Harbour. We believe it has the potential to become a new public space for Dunedin.

We want to hear your ideas.

The big picture purpose of this project is to develop concepts for enhancement of amenity, public access, and ecology of the Forth St to Harbour reach of the Water of Leith. It also gives you the opportunity share your ideas on the how the look and feel of this section of the river could be.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!


How to have your say:

There's three ways you can give us your feedback. Explore the tabs below.

You need to be signed in to share your story.

  • Leith for Future Generations

    by dunedinyouthcouncil, 3 months ago

    For teenagers and the youth of Dunedin, many of us will continue to be close to the Leith for many years to come, therefore it is important to us that the state of the river is improved. 

    Currently, accessibility is a big issue, in terms of getting down close to the water. An extended public walk / cycle way from the stadium would be a great way to get people of all ages to appreciate the Leith more. Making these paths or the area alongside the Leith more inviting in terms of a more lively appearance would also be worth... Continue reading

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  • Kai Tahu Relationship with the Otago Harbour and the Ōwheo

    by Aukaha, 3 months ago

    The Otago Harbour Catchment is a special feature of the Otago region and is highly valued by Kāi Tahu ki Otago. The bays near the mouth of the Otago Harbour provided proximity to the ocean, access on the tide to the head of the harbour and at low tide the abundant shellfish beds were a prized resource. Bays and inlets to the north of Otago Harbour and bays and inlets along the coast of Otago Peninsula and south to Taieri Mouth were popular sites for settlements also. The attributes of shelter, easy access to fishing grounds, and bush-clad hills with... Continue reading

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  • Comments from University

    by Murray, 3 months ago

    The Water of Leith / Ōwheo is a highly significant part of the University of Otago campus. The Campus Master Plan identifies the Water of Leith as a counterpoint to the 'Kettle Grid' street layout in the area, and the central landscape feature of the University. The river also plays an important ecological role, including as a corridor between the surrounding hills and the harbour.

    From initial discussions with staff involved in campus planning, the main themes are:

    -  Retain physical support for University buildings;

    -  Minimise the impact and disruption of any works, especially during the academic... Continue reading

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  • Bring it to life

    by Hayley, 3 months ago

    By narrowing the gully and providing obstacles like boulders would create a deeper flow and create noise of rushing water. Could use the remaining space to create a cycle path or walkway and plant heaps of natives. Could be an awesome nature walk with a lot of planting’s. Could have artists create installations along the river.

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  • Multi purpose park/path

    by Carlo, 4 months ago

    I think a vertical garden on high concrete walls would be great, and the addition of a pathway with benches and some shelter from some planted trees would also be beneficial. A cycling path would be good but would need a wider breadth to accommodate two way cycling traffic, and perhaps the inclusion of small parks along the way which may also include children's swings and see saws, and for everyone else, installations that would allow young and old alike to exercise. Water fountains would be beneficial should the path be really long that runners and cyclists would need to... Continue reading

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  • Kayak and recreational vision

    by Peter .S, 4 months ago

    This story is about a vision of the OUSA Kayak Racing Club.

    Kayakers and other recreational users are frequently looking for calm areas of water, when the beautiful Dunedin harbour becomes unruly and difficult. On Dunedin’s busy harbour, some find learning water- based sports a road too far.

    The Leith, lying by the Marina and many different boat clubs, has always been a tantalizing sight. Its access however, is obstructed by a series of rocky weirs.

    To achieve a usable area of water, construction of one large two metre high weir at... Continue reading

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  • Dunedin's river

    by Peter, 4 months ago

    Dunedin's river needs good access down to the water level so people can enjoy and appreciate it. Let's have walking and cycling paths along each side and stepping-stone crossings at regular intervals. These would of course be closed during a flood. I accept the need for strong floodproof walls in the lower part of the river. I don't agree with allowing graffiti on the walls as it removes habitat for lichens and mosses that could grow on the concrete. The flat concrete river beds could have pebbles and rocks glued to them to provide a more natural surface and allow... Continue reading

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  • Life in the Leith: the Leith as a living river

    by John Highton, 4 months ago

    i always used to take pleasure in watching the fish feed below the Union street. Ridge whenever work for the University took me in that direction.  Now you will have to look hard to see even one or two fish.   Why has life in the Leith deteriorated?   Is it the toxic run off from our streets or all the concrete that has turned it into an engineers playground rather than a living river?

    To my mind the banks can be made as beautiful and restful as you like but the job will still be only half done until... Continue reading

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  • Brutalist architecture should remain

    by Scott, 4 months ago

    It seems to me the "drain like" aspects of this space have some merit in their of-the-time style - brutalist concrete, of which little remains in NZ. Practically every bridge in NZ was like this in my youth. Is it possible to retain the looking feel of the concrete works AND enhance the water flow? Perhaps maintaining the main (larger) concrete structures while softening the base flow area? Could the water be channeled in such a way that there was constantly enough to allow kayaking/canoes? Even a minor tourist operation while still supplying flood protection. (Los Angeles managed this when... Continue reading

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  • The Beach that never was!

    by Jparkes, 4 months ago

    Some time ago a notice in Dundas street informed us that a beach was being constructed. This was looked forward to with mounting anticipation. However it never eventuated. We really do need somewhere to swim in the leith. Preferably a boulder free, area with a Sandy approach, this was what we thought was going to happen. So what did????

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