Whatihua Lake

Size: 5 hectares

Site description

The Whatihua Lake biodiversity focus area is a long and narrow dune lake, surrounded by farmland at the base of the Āwhitu Peninsula. It is approximately five kilometres west of Waiuku.

Key ecosystems

A narrow band of wetland vegetation dominated by jointed twig rush, kuta, raupō and pukio surrounds most of the lake margins (WL11). This transitions into raupō-dominated (WL19) wetland at the eastern end of the lake. Of particularly high biodiversity value are small patches of lakeshore turf (WL15) dotted around the lake.

Whatihua dune lake and wetland.
Whatihua dune lake and wetland complex.
Photo credit: Andrew Macdonald, Biospatial Ltd 2017

Lakeshore turf

Lakeshore turf is an ecosystem type with few remaining examples in Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland. Threats to lakeshore turf include the low-growing, herbaceous vegetation being damaged by livestock or out-competed by exotic plant species.

Lakeshore turf is identified as a regionally threatened ecosystem type and is ranked as Critically Endangered. The lakeshore turf vegetation here includes native herbs such as:

  • mudwort
  • Lilaeopsis novae-zelandiae
  • Glossostigma elatinoides.

Native fauna

Weweia (dabchick) and other waterfowl species use the open water and wetland habitat at this site.


Weeds such as kikuyu, mercer grass and water purslane are common. They are potentially becoming an increasing threat to the lakeshore turf now that the lake is fenced off to exclude livestock.

Exotic species can out-compete native turf species reducing available habitat for native herb populations to occupy.