Size: 135 hectares
Site description and location
The Puhinui biodiversity focus area contains an important wildlife refuge. It is located in the upper reaches of the Manukau Harbour, close to Manurewa. The biodiversity focus area includes the estuarine vegetation surrounding the Puhinui headland, the tidal reaches of Puhinui Creek and areas of freshwater wetland.
The area covers several parks and reserves managed by Auckland Council. Puhinui Reserve and some of Burundi Avenue Foreshore Reserve are included here.
The estuarine intertidal area contains large gently-graded sand flats, saltmarsh, mangroves and shellbanks (variants of SA1).
The saltmarsh behind the shellbanks is one of the biggest and least disturbed areas of saltmarsh remaining in the Manukau Harbour.
The estuarine vegetation transitions into freshwater wetland with small patches of raupō reedland (WL19) and flaxland and cabbage tree wetland (WL18). There is also a large patch of oioi, restiad rushland and reedland (WL10).
The wetlands are highly significant from a habitat perspective. Only a few intact sequences from saline to freshwater wetland remain in the Manukau area.
Thousands of international migratory shorebirds and New Zealand endemic shorebirds feed on the intertidal sand flats. They use the shellbanks as high tide roosts.
The saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands support mioweka (banded rail) and mātātā (fernbird) populations. Both of these native wetland bird species are at risk of extinction. They have a national threat ranking of At Risk – Declining.
Community volunteers and Auckland Council are protecting and restoring biodiversity at Puhinui Reserve through:
- animal pest control
- weed control
- native plantings.
Coastal saline ecosystem
Mangrove forest and scrub ecosystem (SA1)
Mangrove forest and scrub is found in tidal estuaries, inlets and where salt water meets fresh at the mouths of rivers and streams. This ecosystem has a range of distinct plant communities that provide habitat for birds and fish.
Mānuka, kānuka scrub ecosystem (VS3)
This ecosystem is abundant in the Waitākere Ranges and on Great Barrier Island. It establishes after disturbance events, such as fires. It occurs across a wide range of soils, altitudes and latitudes and provides habitat for many native fauna.
Oioi, restiad rushland and reedland ecosystem (WL10)
Typically found on coastal stream margins where freshwater meets saline, this ecosystem is characterised by abundant oioi. Mātātā (fernbird), matuku (Australasian bittern), banded rail (mioweka) may be present in some areas.
Flaxland ecosystem (WL18)
Flaxlands are flax dominated freshwater wetlands that occur on terraces and in depressions on recent organic soils.