The lake affords excellent water sports and fishing (brown trout and salmon) and the surrounding countryside carries game such as deer, goats, chamois, quail, chukor, ducks, and geese. The area has a pleasantly dry climate, very warm in summer, and is suitable for walking and mountaineering trips. There are no commercial launch services on the lake. There is a small community of holiday houses around the south end of the lake, and a small hotel near the outlet caters for tourist needs and can be reached by a first-class road which continues northward beyond Hawea through Haast Pass to the west coast. The lake level was recently raised about 50 ft when a small control dam was constructed for water storage for hydro-electric purposes. This promoted an increase in the fish population of the lake.
The lake is named after the early inhabitants of the district, the Hawea sub-tribe which was an offshoot of the Waitahas and, more latterly, of the Ngati Mamoes.
by Bryce Leslie Wood, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Dunedin - 1966