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The Ruamahanga River system
|Main source||Mount Dundas, Tararua Ranges
1,504 m (4,934 ft)
|River mouth||Palliser Bay, Cook Strait
0 m (0 ft)
|Basin size||3,470 km2 (1,340 sq mi)|
|Length||124 km (77 mi)|
The river's headwaters are in the Tararua Ranges northwest of Masterton. From there it runs firstly south and then southwest for 130 kilometres (81 mi) before emptying into the Cook Strait. The towns of Masterton and Martinborough are close to the banks of the river. It is joined by many other rivers, including the Tauweru River near Gladstone.
In its lower reaches, the river meanders across a large floodplain, culminating in the wetlands around the edges of Lake Wairarapa. The river once flowed into the lake, but has now has been diverted. The river drains at Palliser Bay 10 kilometres (6 mi) further south.
Trout fishing is a popular activity and there are many swimming holes in the upper reaches.
In popular Maori legend a Taniwha (Mythical monster) lives in the river, he has been angered since the river was diverted and is believed to have been responsible for the death of many people.
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