Tuhua (Mayor) Island

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Mayor Island (Tuhua) is a dormant volcano off the Bay of Plenty coast. It is a sanctuary for wildlife, both above and below the water.

Tuhua (Mayor Island) is a dormant shield volcano with a large caldera. It emerged from the sea about 7000 years ago and has several hot springs. Opuahau, the highest peak, reaches 354 metres and the volcanic crater contains two lakes, both near sea level. Lake Aroarotamahine is green and Lake Te Paritu almost black.

A wildlife refuge since 1953, the island is home to many native birds - nectar-feeding bellbirds and tui, wood pigeons, morepork, fantail, kaka (brown parrot), grey warbler, waxeye, kingfisher and, soaring on the thermals, the harrier hawk. Well marked walking tracks lead to the lakes and through the impressively tall forest. Visitors are welcome on the island; they must report to the Tuhua caretaker on arrival.

Tuhua is considered special by Maori because its geological make up includes black obsidian, a volcanic glass created by the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. Obsidian was prized as a cutting tool. Pieces of this natural black glass can often be found on Bay of Plenty beaches.

Tuhua Marine Reserve lies off the northern end of the island, and is an excellent spot for boating, swimming, diving and snorkelling.

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