The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says a new miniature remote-controlled speedboat is a safe and effective way to measure and record river flows for its scientists working in the field.
The 2m long boat - called a Q boat - is the only one of its kind in New Zealand.
It is controlled from the river bank which means staff no longer have to drop equipment into the water while standing on busy road bridges.
The data is instantly sent to a computer which works out the river flows and water quantity.
NIWA says collecting the data with the Q-boat is more accurate and the results can be processed instantly.