Marlborough Sounds Complex
The Marlborough Sounds Complex Freshwater Management Unit (FMU) is a grouping of catchments that flow into the Marlborough Sounds, Cook Strait, and Tasman Bay. The area has an extensive coastline, roughly equating to one-tenth of New Zealand’s coastline. The FMU encompasses the northeast part of Marlborough with the Te Hoiere/Pelorus and Wairau FMUs to the west and south, respectively. Tectonic activity has had a significant influence on the Marlborough Sounds with regional subsidence leading to the drowning of the original river valleys, which now form the Sounds. The remaining land above the sea level represents what was originally the top of mountains. This has resulted in steep-sided catchments, and short rivers and streams. Today, the highest point is Mount Stokes at 1,203 metres, and the largest catchments are found in the Linkwater, Picton/Waikawa and Kenepuru Head areas. The main urban centres in the FMU are Picton/Watohi and Waikawa. The remainder of the population is dispersed throughout the FMU, primarily in the inner sounds of Queen Charlotte Sound/Totaranui and Pelorus/Te Hoiere Sound.