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

SEPTEMBER 2018

 Intense blue of the  cornflower  ray florets ( Centaurea cyanus ) make these flowers stand out. Cornflowers are native to temperate Europe, but in the wild they are endangered by agricultural intensification, particularly over-use of herbicides, destroying its habitat. The edible flower can be used for culinary decoration.

Intense blue of the cornflower ray florets (Centaurea cyanus) make these flowers stand out. Cornflowers are native to temperate Europe, but in the wild they are endangered by agricultural intensification, particularly over-use of herbicides, destroying its habitat. The edible flower can be used for culinary decoration.

 Waitakere  kōwhai  trees ( Sophora fulvida ) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua covered with bright yellow flowers. The flowers have attract many  tūī  ( Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae ), and the Sanctuary environs is filled with the sound of their song.

Waitakere kōwhai trees (Sophora fulvida) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua covered with bright yellow flowers. The flowers have attract many tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae), and the Sanctuary environs is filled with the sound of their song.

 Flowers on the native  taupata  ( Coprosma repens ) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua are not large and colourful as many introduced plants. However, they will provide a berry feast for native birds when they mature in December. New Zealand pigeon /  kererū  ( Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae ) then will vie with  tūī  ( Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae ) for the ripe berries.

Flowers on the native taupata (Coprosma repens) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua are not large and colourful as many introduced plants. However, they will provide a berry feast for native birds when they mature in December. New Zealand pigeon / kererū (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae) then will vie with tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) for the ripe berries.

 Tubular red flowers of  pineapple sage  plants ( Salvia elegans ) continue to brighten up the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. The edible leaves and flowers have a scent similar to pineapple It is a perennial shrub native to higher areas of Mexico and Guatemala, and in its native range attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

Tubular red flowers of pineapple sage plants (Salvia elegans) continue to brighten up the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. The edible leaves and flowers have a scent similar to pineapple It is a perennial shrub native to higher areas of Mexico and Guatemala, and in its native range attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.

  Mexican marigold  ( Tagetes lucida ) growing on the border of the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua parking area greets members with its bright golden-yellow flowers. The flowers are frequently visited by  honey bees  ( Apis mellifera ). This species is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America, and is used both as a medicinal plant and as a culinary herb. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavour, with hints of anise, and it has entered the nursery trade in North America as a tarragon substitute

Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida) growing on the border of the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua parking area greets members with its bright golden-yellow flowers. The flowers are frequently visited by honey bees (Apis mellifera). This species is a perennial plant native to Mexico and Central America, and is used both as a medicinal plant and as a culinary herb. The leaves have a tarragon-like flavour, with hints of anise, and it has entered the nursery trade in North America as a tarragon substitute

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