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

February 2018

 Colourful  marigolds  ( Tagetes erecta ),  zinnia  flowers (genus  Zinnia ) and  sunflowers  ( Helianthus annuus ) emphasise the many shades of green at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua.

Colourful marigolds (Tagetes erecta), zinnia flowers (genus Zinnia) and sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) emphasise the many shades of green at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua.

 Spiderlings of the  nurseryweb spider  ( Dolomedes minor ) have just hatched from their protective web on the perennial nettle ( Urtica dioica ). This is a relatively large endemic species (adult body length about 25 mm) that hunts its prey at night. The female carries the eggsac around for about 5 weeks, and makes the nursery web about a week before the spiderlings hatch.

Spiderlings of the nurseryweb spider (Dolomedes minor) have just hatched from their protective web on the perennial nettle (Urtica dioica). This is a relatively large endemic species (adult body length about 25 mm) that hunts its prey at night. The female carries the eggsac around for about 5 weeks, and makes the nursery web about a week before the spiderlings hatch.

 Mass display of the large hanging flowers of  angel's trumpets  (genus  Brugmansia ; previously genus Datura) greeted Heroic Garden Festival visitors at the southeastern entrance to the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua food forest. The path leads to the Hügelkultur bed formed in October 2016.

Mass display of the large hanging flowers of angel's trumpets (genus Brugmansia; previously genus Datura) greeted Heroic Garden Festival visitors at the southeastern entrance to the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua food forest. The path leads to the Hügelkultur bed formed in October 2016.

 The towering  sunflowers  ( Helianthus annuus ).  Two-banded bumblebees  ( Bombus terrestris ) and  honey bees  ( Apis mellifera ) are visiting and spending time foraging on these large flowers. Usually sunflowers rotate during the day to face the sun.

The towering sunflowers (Helianthus annuus). Two-banded bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and honey bees (Apis mellifera) are visiting and spending time foraging on these large flowers. Usually sunflowers rotate during the day to face the sun.

 B itter melon  ( Momordica charantia ) plants at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. The young fruit can be eaten raw as they have only a mild bitter taste, similar to the vine tips.

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) plants at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. The young fruit can be eaten raw as they have only a mild bitter taste, similar to the vine tips.

  "3 sisters"  is a companion planting technique of  corn  ( Zea mays ),  climbing beans  ( Phaseolus vulgaris ), and  pumpkins  (genus  Cucurbita ). Various Native American groups in North America used this cropping technique.

"3 sisters" is a companion planting technique of corn (Zea mays), climbing beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), and pumpkins (genus Cucurbita). Various Native American groups in North America used this cropping technique.

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