Nature and conservation
Tuhua (Mayor Island) is a collapsed volcano on the edge of the continental shelf.
The eroded volcanic forms extend beneath the water, creating a network of lava columns, caves and angular boulders. A dense canopy of kelp and other seaweeds covers the crevices, giving shelter to many colourful organisms.
At Orongatea Bay there is a shallow rock platform suitable for snorkelling. It is enlivened by bubbles from underwater hot springs. Offshore the bottom drops away to 50 m at the North East Arising. This drop off is close to the continental shelf and reveals the typical depth related patterns of plant and animal distribution.
The marine reserve has mixture of shallow reef and deepwater environments. Warm currents bring subtropical visitors, and there are dense schools of kingfish and pink and blue maomao, among many other species.
For many people the most convenient and ready access to the marine reserve is by charter boat.
Diving or sightseeing excursions can be arranged through local operators.
Know before you go
Tuhua's distance offshore (35 kilometres from the Tauranga Harbour entrance) and the location of the marine reserve at the more exposed end of the island, mean particular care is required when planning and undertaking trips there.
Weather and sea conditions can change rapidly. Make sure you advise a responsible person of your intentions, including your destination and time of return.
Make sure you are well-equipped.