Northland has a large number of small and generally shallow lakes. The majority of these lakes were formed by dune activity and are therefore called ‘dune lakes'. However some – such as Lake Omapere - were formed by volcanic activity, or were artificially made. Northland's lakes are a valuable economic, social, cultural and environmental resource.

Kai Iwi Lakes.

Photo: The Kai Iwi Lakes group is made up of some of the largest and deepest dune lakes in New Zealand

The Northland Lake Water Quality Monitoring Network (LWQMN) was set up by the Council in 2005 as a means of collecting information on water quality in the region's lakes, and monitoring change over time.

The programme includes 30 lakes in the Kai Iwi, Aupöuri, Central/Karikari and Pouto lake groups. These lakes are sampled every three months to test for a range of properties including temperature, nutrients and clarity.