Muriwai's Unique Environment
Why is Muriwai unique?
There are a number of features of Muriwai that make it unique, and these features have enabled a unique mix of flora and fauna. Many would also say that the residents of Muriwai are also unique.
Some of the unique features that make Muriwai a special habitat:
cliff's to the south of the main beach are a protective haven for nesting seabirds - including one of only two mainland Gannet (Takapu) colonies in NZ
a very long main beach with a strong dune environment with a forest, home to a large number of introduced Fallow Deer
a rocky shore environment, protected by cliff's in the southern bays, home to Little Blue Penguins and the rare Grey Faced Petrel
an island isolated from the mainland with an active seal colony and reputedly home to Great Whites and other shark species
Okiritoto stream on Coast Road is a gem and a great place for recreation - it has a population of eels and other native fish
the largest harbour in the southern hemisphere at the northern extent of the beach - an active breeding ground for a number of fish (including Great Whites) and marine mammals
Muriwai is the western extent of the Auckland Wildlink Corridor between Tiritiri Matangi and the West coast of Auckland - birds 'migrate' along this corridor via bridges of protected bush
Goldies Bush to the South East - this provides an ecological bridge between the Waitakere ranges and the coast, this also intersected by Mokoroa Stream which empties into the largest wetland in the Auckland region, Te Henga wetland, which can be accessed from Matuku Reserve.
Unique species and wildlife
Muriwai has a many species that have made Muriwai home, here are just a few of them.
Muriwai Gecko - a species found only in Muriwai - see the Auckland Zoo article;
Maui Dolphin - critically endangered marine mammal, once a common site at Muriwai - now rarely seen - please report any sightings;
Australasian Gannet (Tākapu) - Muriwai's most famous fair weather resident - read more about their facinating lives here
Little Blue Penguin - A special resident of Muriwai and surrounds, threatened by stoats, ferrets, cats and dogs;
Grey Faced Petrel - one of the few burrowing petrels to still survive on the New Zealand mainland and threatened by cats and rats;
Toheroa - Muriwai was once at the epicentre of the over fishing of Toheroa - unfortuanately this delicacy has not made a comeback inspite of decades of protection - very much a lesson in sustainability;
Making an impact
Since trapping (Ring Fence Muriwai) and predator control (Pest Free Muriwai) and has been running we are gettings reports of species returning to Muriwai that have not been seen for some time such as Kaka and Bellbirds, and increasing numbers of Blue Penguins, Moreporks, Tui, Piwakawaka (Fantail) and other species.
There are a number of unique Flora in Muriwai as well, we will focus on this in future articles.