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. 

Puhinui Reserve.
The view west across the Puhinui Reserve. The coastal saline environment along the Manukau Harbour's edge becomes increasing dominated by freshwater wetlands moving inland over the reserve.
Photo credit: Auckland Council

Key ecosystems

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.

Puhinui Reserve.
A matrix of ecosystems can be seen extending the length of Puhinui Reserve.
Photo credit: Auckland Council

Native fauna

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.

A paddock in Puhinui Reserve.
A birds eye view of mature cabbage trees in a paddock retired for restoration planting.
Photo credit: Auckland Council

Restoration action

Community volunteers and Auckland Council are protecting and restoring biodiversity at Puhinui Reserve through:

  • animal pest control
  • weed control
  • native plantings.
Many people digging and planting among cabbage trees.
Volunteers planting at Puhinui Reserve.
Photo credit: Auckland Council