MAUNGATANIWHA NATIVE FOREST
Maungataniwha Native Forest comprises 6,120 hectares of native forest straddling the ridge system between the Te Hoe and Waiau Rivers in northern Hawkes Bay. It is bordered to the north by Te Urewera and to the west by the Whirinaki Conservation Forest, both part of an extensive area of native forest which is publicly-owned land administered by the Department of Conservation. Its southern neighbour is the Maungataniwha Pine Forest.
The ecological significance of Maungataniwha is yet to be fully recognised. To date the property remains unsurveyed for rare native species, and only partially surveyed for kiwi. Nevertheless, Long-Tailed and Short-Tailed Bats, kaka, kereru, Bush Falcon, and Forest Gecko have been recorded via casual observation in recent years.
A number of rare plants exist here. These include Wood Rose (Dactylanthus taylorii), a native wood parasite; scarlet mistletoe (Peraxilla colensoi), ranked as a species in ‘Gradual Decline’; and red mistletoe (Peraxilla tetrapetala). Both mistletoe species appear to be benefitting from possum control, with an increase in the number of plants recorded on the property.
The area is of national importance geologically as the site where palaeontologist Joan Wiffen first discovered evidence of land-dinosaur fossils in New Zealand. These fossil remains were extracted from cretaceous rock taken from the Mangahouanga Stream, which has the bulk of its catchment within this forest. The block also has a long history of logging, although our Chairman Simon Hall retired this property from logging when he purchased it in 2005.
Maungataniwha is also of archaeological significance. A cliff site at the head of the Mangahouanga Stream has in the past been used for human habitation and some old fire sites have been identified here. A broken stone adze and two other habitation sites have also been discovered. These, along with the remains of a wooden structure in nearby Te Urewera, believed to have been a storehouse, add to the belief that the Maungataniwha area was once an important place for Maori.