Takatu and Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary

Size: 394 hectares

Site description and location

The Takatu and Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary biodiversity focus area is situated on Takatu Peninsula, east of Warkworth. A marine reserve adjoins Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary along its north coast.

This biodiversity focus area includes a diverse range of habitats on the regional park land including sand dunes, forest, scrub and freshwater wetlands.

Significant areas of forest and wetland outside of the sanctuary also contribute important habitat value are included in this biodiversity focus area. 

Dunes at Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary.
Looking east over the dunes at Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary. The predator proof fence can be seen bottom right of the image.
Photo credit: Andrew Macdonald, Biospatial Ltd 2018

Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary

Tāwharanui Regional Park, at the eastern end of the peninsula, became Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary in 2004. It is protected by a predator-proof fence across the peninsula. Pest animals were eradicated from inside the fence and now native species flourish. 

Since its establishment, there have been several reintroductions or translocations to create more secure populations of highly threatened native species, including of takahē.

Reintroduced and translocated species include:

  • North Island brown kiwi
  • pāteke (brown teal)
  • toutouwai (North Island robin)
  • pōpokatea (whitehead)
  • tīeke (North Island saddleback)
  • takahē
  • giant kōkopu
  • native lizards.

Korimako (bellbird) and kākā are two species to have arrived naturally since the sanctuary was established.

Forest on Tāwharanui Peninsula.
A large block of kauri, podocarp, broadleaved forest adjacent to Takatu Road.
Photo credit: Andrew Macdonald, Biospatial Ltd 2018

Key ecosystems

There are a range of ecosystems within the sanctuary including:

  • coastal forest (WF4) remnants
  • pōhutukawa treeland on steep sedimentary rock cliffs (CL1)
  • regenerating kauri, podocarp, broadleaved forest (WF11)
  • large tracts of regenerating scrub and forest (VS2, VS3)
  • freshwater wetlands (WL19) and streams
  • sand dunes (DN2).

There are intact linkages between these coastal, freshwater, forest and scrub ecosystems which adds to the ecological value.

Tāwharanui Peninsula.
Regenerating coastal forest provides habitat for many threatened birds that call Tāwharanui home.
Photo credit: Andrew Macdonald, Biospatial Ltd 2018

Adjoining natural areas

On private land, adjoining Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary, there are large areas of intact forest and wetlands. This vegetation also provides important habitat and is an important stepping stone between the Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary and habitat further inland through to Mount Tamahunga and beyond.

Tāwharanui Peninsula looking toward Anchor Bay.
Regenerating scrub is fenced off from the working farm. Anchor Bay can be seen in the distance.
Photo credit: Andrew Macdonald, Biospatial Ltd 2018

Community conservation

The community is actively involved in protecting and enhancing the biodiversity values at Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary. Tāwharanui Open Sanctuary Society Inc community volunteers take part in all aspects of conservation within the sanctuary.

The Takatu Landcare Group, made up of landowners and residents on the Takatu Peninsula, are working to protect and enhance biodiversity values on the wider peninsula outside of the sanctuary through pest animal and plant pest control.

Related ecosystems