Welcome to the virtual home of the Sanctuary
Mahi Whenua gardens and food forest


This majestic green space, located on the Unitec Mt Albert campus, is home to more than 400 species of plants and trees. The fertile soil and beautiful surrounds have been providing food and enjoyment for centuries to creatures and humans. It is a green avenue for the public accessing the Oakley Creek Walkway. Find out more about the rich history of the land in the Origins section.

Since 2011, the space has operated as a successful organic community garden and food forest, run by volunteers, in a partnership arrangement on the Unitec Institute of Technology campus at Mt Albert, Auckland. Over 60 members and their families are directly involved.  In June 2017 the group became an Incorporated Society and charitable organisation.

The Sanctuary Mahi Whenua is recognised as the space of many sustainability firsts for Auckland. These include the city's first multi-layered food forest, the first engineered swale and the first ecostructures. To read more about urban sustainability and the role Mahi Whenua plays read more in the nuturing the land page.

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The Sanctuary Mahi Whenua is here to stay

The future of the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua gardens and food forest are assured in the proposed new KiwiBuild housing development at Unitec, announced 25 March 2018.

Our thanks to all our supporters -- nearly 6500 signed our petition -- and our action group who helped achieve the result we all were striving for, but at times seemed near impossible. 

The Future

The Sanctuary Mahi Whenua is a beautiful place and important to many people in our community. We put forward to Unitec's land development company how the Sanctuary could be integrated into any development. Our Society believes that it will be a valuable part of future communities at the Wairaka Precinct if it is protected as community green space, as illustrated in Unitec's October 2015 submission on overview of zoning and Masterplan (see also vision section). We look forward to working with the Government to integrate the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua into housing development in the Wairaka Precinct.