Tawharanui is a heartening conservation success story; in just a few years the park has been developed as a "mainland island" becoming pest free, the bellbird reintroducing itself and many of NZ's 'missing' birds (including the kiwi), reptiles and plants being reintroduced. Today a walk through the park gives visitors wonderful opportunities to see and hear many of these species.
It has just been 10 years since the predator fence was installed across the peninsular, followed by eradication of pests and ongoing habitat enhancement focusing on wetland areas, planting of native trees and shrubs. Committed volunteers continue working at Tawharanui with planting (currently 20,000 trees and shrubs are planted annually), track maintenance, bird monitoring, pest control, education etc.
The reintroduction of NZ native birds has been very successful with North Island brown kiwi, which had been missing from Tawharanui for over 60 years, being reintroduced, North Island robin, saddleback, NZ teal (4th rarest duck in the world) and many more resident natives.
In 1769 when Captain Cook came to NZ he noted that "the birdsong was deafening", he also commented on the Bellbird "it seemed to be like small bells most exquisitely tuned". Visiting Tawharanui today and hearing the songbirds, not only at dawn and dusk but throughout the day, we begin to realise just how it must have sounded to Capt Cook so long ago.
Together with this amazing birdlife, there is the pristine white sandy beaches and marine reserve; just over an hour from Auckland city (a short stretch on an unsealed road) brings the visitor to this haven, it feels like being back in time.
With the passion we have here at Habitat Tours for our environment, the amazing landscape, flora and fauna at Tawharanui makes this special place the obvious destination for our Eco based tours.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist