The Banks Peninsula water zone is made up of eroded volcanic domes that have been breached by the sea. Its catchments are short, steep and prone to flash flooding. The peninsula is reliant on rainfall to keep the creeks running and storage tanks and ponds full. Groundwater resources are limited and every summer settlements such as Akaroa experience water restrictions. 

It has always been an important place and food basket for Ngāi Tahu. Four rūnanga are present on Banks Peninsula – Te Hapu ō Ngāti Wheke/Rāpaki, Te Rūnanga o Koukourarata, Te Rūnanga o Ōnuku and Te Rūnanga o Wairewa.