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

May 2018

 Flowering specimens of  koromiko  (genus  Hebe ) originating from a river bank on the west coast of Northland. One specimen was originally given to the Sanctuary by Dr Peter de Lange (Department of Conservation, now Unitec), and now we have several growing along the swale.

Flowering specimens of koromiko (genus Hebe) originating from a river bank on the west coast of Northland. One specimen was originally given to the Sanctuary by Dr Peter de Lange (Department of Conservation, now Unitec), and now we have several growing along the swale.

 Colourful harvest with 3 of the 4 coming from hybrid plants.  Yellow West Indian Key limes  ( Citrus aurantiifolia ) are a hybrid of  C. micrantha  x  C. medica -   Orange tropical apricots  are a seedless hybrid between Sri Lankan  Dovyalis hebecarpa  and Ethiopian  D. abyssinica -   macadamia nuts  (Macadamia 'Beaumont') are a hybrid between Australian  Macadamia integrifolia  and  M. tetraphylla . Only the  Brasilian strawberry guava   Psidium cattleyanum  is not a hybrid.

Colourful harvest with 3 of the 4 coming from hybrid plants. Yellow West Indian Key limes (Citrus aurantiifolia) are a hybrid of C. micrantha x C. medica - Orange tropical apricots are a seedless hybrid between Sri Lankan Dovyalis hebecarpa and Ethiopian D. abyssinica - macadamia nuts (Macadamia 'Beaumont') are a hybrid between Australian Macadamia integrifolia and M. tetraphylla. Only the Brasilian strawberry guava Psidium cattleyanum is not a hybrid.

 First flower for the season has appeared on our  Cook Strait kōwhai  tree ( Sophora molloyi ) at the entrance to the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. It is also known as Dragon's gold kōwhai as it is found on Stephens Island with tuatara ( Sphenodon punctatus )

First flower for the season has appeared on our Cook Strait kōwhai tree (Sophora molloyi) at the entrance to the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. It is also known as Dragon's gold kōwhai as it is found on Stephens Island with tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus)

 Clusters of yellowish-white hanging flowers are starting to arise from the scrambling vines on one of our  Tecomanthe  plants ( Tecomanthe speciosa ) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. Tecomanthe is an endemic species to the Three Kings Islands (55 km off the northern tip of New Zealand), and its conservation status is "Threatened - Nationally Critical".

Clusters of yellowish-white hanging flowers are starting to arise from the scrambling vines on one of our Tecomanthe plants (Tecomanthe speciosa) at the Sanctuary Mahi Whenua. Tecomanthe is an endemic species to the Three Kings Islands (55 km off the northern tip of New Zealand), and its conservation status is "Threatened - Nationally Critical".

 Harvest from our  "Reed" avocado  tree ( Persea americana ). The small fruit are cocktail avocados in which the stone has not developed: only delicious flesh is inside the skin. This tree grew from a stone that Richard Main (now with Gardens4Health) discarded into a small compost heap.

Harvest from our "Reed" avocado tree (Persea americana). The small fruit are cocktail avocados in which the stone has not developed: only delicious flesh is inside the skin. This tree grew from a stone that Richard Main (now with Gardens4Health) discarded into a small compost heap.

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