Tuhua (Mayor Island) is a collapsed volcano on the edge of the continental shelf. The marine reserve surrounding it is a wonderful dive spot, with a mixture of shallow reef and deepwater environments.

Place overview


  • Boating
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Marine reserves
    Protect our marine reserves

    They are special places that protect the species and habitats within them.

    • No fishing of any kind
    • Don't take or kill marine life
    • Don't remove or disturb any marine life or materials
    • Don't feed fish - it disturbs their natural behaviour

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Find things to do Tuhua (Mayor Island) Marine Reserve


Diving and snorkelling

Tuhua Marine Reserve is a popular dive spot. It's renowned for its high water quality, unusual mix of deep sea and subtropical fish, and stunning geological features.

At Orongatea Bay there is a shallow rock platform suitable for snorkelling.

Diving at Tūhua factsheet (PDF, 335K)

Report illegal activity

It is illegal to fish, or to disturb or remove any marine life or nature feature from the reserve. DOC makes regular patrols in the marine reserve, but if you observe illegal activity please report it to 0800 DOC HOT (800 362 468). Tuhua Marine Reserve is managed by the Department of Conservation under the Marine Reserves Act 1971. Failure to comply with regulations under this act may result in prosecution.

The reserve adjoins a restricted fishing area one nautical mile offshore around the whole of the island. Set nets (including gill nets) and long lines (lines with more than three hooks) are prohibited within this area, but all other legal fishing methods are allowed. Normal daily limits apply.

Other activities

Swimming, sailing and jet boating are all welcome.

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    About this place

    Nature and conservation

    A Lord Howe Coralfish taken by James Marsden in Auckland
    The Lord Howe Coralfish

    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.

    Getting there

    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.


    Tauranga Office
    Phone:   +64 7 578 7677
    Address:   253 Chadwick Road West
    Greerton West
    Tauranga 3112
    Full office details
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