Tamahunga Ecological Area
Size: 1188 hectares
The Tamahunga Ecological Area includes Mount Tamahunga, the highest peak (437m) in the Matakana area, and an extensive area of continuous native forest and scrub surrounding the peak.
The Tamahunga Ecological Area is part of a much wider corridor of native forest and scrub on steep, sandstone hills. These hills stretch from Dome Forest, north-west of Warkworth, to Leigh on the east coast.
This biodiversity focus area includes the Omaha Conservation Area and Omaha Scenic Reserve, both administered by the Department of Conservation.
The vegetation on the distinctive double peaks of Mount Tamahunga and throughout the rest of this biodiversity focus area is a mosaic (mix) of mature and regenerating native forest and scrub. It includes one of the largest and best examples of taraire forest (WF9) in the northern part of the region.
Plant species diversity within the taraire-dominated forest is very high. Large northern rātā, rimu, kahikatea, and rewarewa tower over mature taraire, pūriri, kānuka, tawa, pukatea and many other native canopy species. There is an abundance of vines and epiphytes.
Beneath the forest canopy, a dense and diverse understorey is re-establishing following the removal of large numbers of goats and ongoing pig control.
Small kiokio, raukawa and Astelia microsperma - native species typically found at high elevations or with a more southern distribution, occur high up on Mount Tamahunga.
Forest-clad permanent streams and waterfalls support populations of pepeketua (Hochstetter’s frog), tuna (long-fin eel) and other native fish. The forest provides habitat and food sources for many native birds including:
- pīwakawaka (fantail)
- miromiro (tomtit).
A community group, supported by the Department of Conservation, maintain trap lines across Mount Tamahunga. They help reduce predator numbers and improve the habitat value for native species. Periodic possum control also occurs.
Kānuka scrub and forest ecosystem (VS2)
Found throughout New Zealand, kānuka dominated forest establishes readily after fire. It's diverse range of flowering and fruiting shrubs and trees provide habitat for a wide range of invertebrates, birds and lizards.
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.
Broadleaved species scrub and forest ecosystem (VS5)
This ecosystem can be found in semi-dry areas on low fertility slopes throughout New Zealand. In Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland, it is mostly found on south-facing slopes in the south.
Warm forest ecosystem
Kauri, podocarp, broadleaved forest ecosystem (WF11)
Once widespread across the Auckland region, this warm forest ecosystem contains a range of podocarp and broadleaf trees on different landforms. It is an ideal habitat for birds, bats and lizards thanks to an abundance of fruit and nectar.