2.9-3.9 (flow can be gained from www.rivers.org.nz/Flow for Ruakituri at 'Sportsfield'
The Ruakituri is a blend of Mangahao/Rangitikei with good gradient over papa slides and through tight boulder gardens. It flows south east from the mysterious Urewera National Park and meets the Wairoa River just above Te Reinga Falls. The upper section, from Mangatahae Stream to Papuni Station, has been used by Hawke’s Bay paddlers for years and is a very good run.
The run begins with a kilometre of flat or easy water before the river is pushed through a narrow chute. Several nice rocky rapids lead into a large pool. Be wary after this as the whole river disappears into a rock sieve but scouting and portaging are possible from either side. The following stretch is a maze of huge rocks and small drops which will make you smile before the river opens out to some class III chutes and rock gardens. The waterfalls are the crux of the trip and they follow. Scout on the left as the second fall is a ‘must run’ or poke-n-hope. Keep an eye out for the big eels while waiting in the pool below! A deep gorge allows time to recollect your wits and slide down more class III rock gardens with a cool papa slide. One other drop in this section requires some attention before half an hour of boulder gardens see you at the Papuni take out.
To get to the put in: Continue up the valley from Papuni Station and the road will head away from the river. After crossing the bridge at Mangatahae Stream the road heads back to the river. Put in where you can by sliding down the grassy bank.