Ahimate Reserve

Photo shows five kids with excellent balance walking in single file along a large log in the bush.

Learn more about why this riverside park is one of our favourite places in Palmy.

Pronounced: Ah  he  mah  teh

Water Safety NZ says anyone near our awa (river) should follow these handy tips to keep them and their whanāu safe this summer:

Wait 72 hours after rainfall before entering the river

Rivers are changeable and unpredictable – particularly after heavy rainfall. Riverbanks can also become unstable during and after heavy rain.

Check weather forecasts including rainfall in the hills above that could fill the streams and rivers where you are.

Look before you leap – check for hazards

Upstream, downstream and where you’re swimming. Rivers contain hidden dangers and swimming holes can change depths from summer to summer.

Always enter feet first and establish an exit point before you enter.

Keep looking

  •  Can you see the bottom?
  • Is it deep enough for jumping or diving?
  • Does the riverbed drop away close to the edge?
  • Could you handle the current if you got swept away?

A safe rescue is a land-based rescue

Dial 111 immediately if you see anyone in danger, so emergency services can get there as soon as possible.

If someone is being swept downstream, the only safe rescue is a land-based rescue. Do not enter the river after them. It is unlikely you will be able to reach them to help them and you may need to be rescued yourself.

  • Follow the person in trouble down the riverbank.
  • Find a safe place where the person may be able to swim towards the bank.
  • Use an object like a tree branch to reach out over the river.
  • Encourage the person in trouble to grab the branch or paddle and hang on.
  • Pull them to the riverbank and help them out.

If you cannot rescue the person safely from the bank:

  • Encourage the person to turn on their back and float feet first down the river
  • If practical, throw the person a buoyant object like a bucket, chilly bin or ball that they can hang onto and use to keep themselves afloat. 

Getting here

You can enter the reserve from either Buick Crescent or the end of Maxwells Line, next to Paneiri Park. The Maxwells Line entrance is best for carparking and access to the dog agility park and enclosure. For quick access to the beach, walk in from Dittmer Drive.

Dogs and horses welcome

Photo shows dog sitting outside a timber sign at the entrance to the dog park in Ahimate Reserve.  

Ahimate is all about family fun, and that includes your furry friends.

Dogs can walk leash-free throughout the park. We also have a fenced enclosure they can burn off energy in and an agility park to test their skills and train them.

River access


Ahimate Reserve is a great place to access the Manawatū River Pathway.

Please be careful if you are swimming at Ahimate Reserve. Over 2021/2022 summer, four people drowned here. Warning signs are now on site:

  • all rivers are unpredictable
  • the Manawatū River gets deep quickly and has a strong current
  • children need to be closely supervised
  • anybody entering the water should check for hazards such as unstable cliffs, sunken logs and debris

Major facelift for Ahimate Reserve

What was once the neglected Waitoetoe Park is now front and centre in our plans to connect people with the Manawatū River.

Photo shows two women and three teenagers walking a dog through long grass with trees in the background.  

We've been working with the community and Rangitāne to develop Ahimate into a park treasured for its sense of wilderness and remoteness, despite it being fewer than 5km from the city centre.

Waitoetoe was named by Pakeha from the words wai (water) and toe-toe (plant). In 2017 the city's main iwi, Rangitāne, pushed for it to return to its original name, Ahimate.

The park's location was once home to Ahimate Pā, where the Paneiri people once lived under Chief Te Kurupu. The pā was an important location for growing food, especially kūmara.

Ahimate loosely translates to 'cremate' which was something the Paneiri did but wasn't common among Māori.

Now, several paths run through the park, including well-formed limestone tracks that connect to longer walkways along the river. These tracks are very popular with cyclists, runners and dog walkers.

Instead of a playground Ahimate Reserve is focused on getting children to enjoy nature. We've purposely left big tree logs, leftover branch cuttings, big piles of dirt and low hanging trees to play on.

Photo shows three children walking above the ground in a net stretched between two trees.  

There's also a tree hut and nets hanging between trees to climb on.

Mountain biking groups have developed a series of tracks and jumps, platforms and see-saws throughout the park and we are looking at adding more for young children to learn on.

We are working with Rangitāne on the development of the park to make sure our work honours the culturally significant site. In 2019 the iwi is installing a waka launchpad on the edge of the river. The cultural significance of Ahimate pā will be honoured with a series of pou. The area will be planted with medicinal plants once used by the Paneiri people.

Community groups are heavily involved in planting at the reserve as we remove weeds and transform it into a park surrounded by native plants, fruit and nut trees. This will help improve biodiversity and native wildlife in the area.


Ahimate Reserve, Maxwells Line, Awapuni 4412  View Map

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