There are approximately 400 hundred plant species (excluding mosses) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. This includes 140 tree species, many of which are not yet registered on the Unitec’s arboretum list (which contains 220 tree species), therefore contributing substantially to the Unitec’s campus tree diversity. All those plants provide invaluable habitats for many native animal species.

Some 25 bird species have so far been recorded at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. There are skinks and many species of endemic and exotic fungi, insects and spiders.

It is an unrecognised biodiversity hotspot: a biodiversity jewel in the Auckland isthmus. Visit NatureWatch NZ to see some of the recorded observations at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua as well as the wider Mount Albert area.

In the spotlight

January 2019

Planting of the  Sanctuary Mahi Whenua  started in 1999 -- 20 years ago. It is now difficult to remember that this diverse,  biodiversity jewel  on the Auckland isthmus started as a grassy area. Tree ecostructures surround the gardened area (lower area) and the food forest (upper area).  © Cameron Crosby.

Planting of the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua started in 1999 -- 20 years ago. It is now difficult to remember that this diverse, biodiversity jewel on the Auckland isthmus started as a grassy area. Tree ecostructures surround the gardened area (lower area) and the food forest (upper area). © Cameron Crosby.

Around the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua there are many  dahlias  (genus  Dahlia ) flowering. Dahlias are native to Mexico, and tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs. A young nymph of the  native katydid  or  kiki pounamu  ( Caedicia simplex ), a species which also occurs in Australia, uses a petal for shelter.

Around the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua there are many dahlias (genus Dahlia) flowering. Dahlias are native to Mexico, and tubers were grown as a food crop by the Aztecs. A young nymph of the native katydid or kiki pounamu (Caedicia simplex), a species which also occurs in Australia, uses a petal for shelter.

A flower spike of a  Heliconia  or false bird of paradise ( Heliconia subulata ) from the headland shelter at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. This species originated from the cooler Andean highlands of Peru. It can take several years to flower and the leaves damage easily in the wind.

A flower spike of a Heliconia or false bird of paradise (Heliconia subulata) from the headland shelter at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. This species originated from the cooler Andean highlands of Peru. It can take several years to flower and the leaves damage easily in the wind.

GALLERY PREVIOUS MONTHS