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Meola Reef Te Tokoroa
Auckland’s longest lava flow (11km) from Te Kōpuke / Mt St. John volcano since 28,500-years covers 14 hectares with its two kilometer long tidal tongue basalt reef in the Waitematā Harbour
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Private: Meola Reef Te Tokoroa


Year 5+, age 8+


Meola Reef Te Tokoroa climate change impacts

Large low-lying areas along the northern edge of the park will become increasingly inundated overtime and shift from a freshwater coastal environment toward a saline environment.


Revegetation opportunities at Meola Reef Te Tokoroa

There is an opportunity to increase overall biodiversity values of the Meola Reef Reserve by expanding the extent and diversity of saltmarsh communities and the coastal broadleaf forest.

All of the proposed vegetation is intended to maintain and enhance the existing biodiversity of the site and to create habitat for native wildlife (insects, reptiles and birds). The five plant communities are saltmarsh, coastal broadleaf forest, bioretention, rank grass and parkland trees. It is anticipated that planting will be delivered through various means, including but not limited to, local board investment, local improvement projects, and community / volunteer groups etc.


Meola Reef Te Tokoroa Planting strategies

• Plant species with shallow root systems
• Build up the thickness of the landfill cover by adding and/or combining material such as topsoil and/or rock armament to the existing cover.
Herbaceous and shrubby plants associated with salt marshes and bioretention typically have shallower root systems than trees and should only require limited additional cover material. Where larger tree species are desired, it is highly recommended that the landfill cover is built up to allow for deeper rooting plants. In some cases, it may be appropriate and desirable to line the ground with a geotextile or root barrier and mound soil to prepare the ground.

Monitoring of all planting should be maintained to ensure that any problems regarding the health of the plantings is identified and remedied as early as possible.

Enrich and extend existing salt marsh vegetation on basaltic lava field and extend habitat along coastal edge and into low lying areas of the reserve as sea levels rise and new ecological niches emerge. Rock armament and topsoil should be added and combined with the existing surface to create appropriate habitat for plants as required. Some species such as glasswort (Sarcocornaria quinqueflora) and remuremu (Selliera radicans) will establish naturally and do not need to be planted while other species may be suitable for restoration but will likely need to be planted. These include but are not limited to oioi (Apodasmia similis), sea rush (Juncus krausii var. australiensis), needle grass (Austrostipa stipoides), saltmarsh ribbonwood (Plagianthius divaricatus), and pohuehue (Muehlenbeckia complexa).

Low lying areas prone to ponding and overland flow paths are planted with a mix of water tolerant plants. While there is not necessarily a need to build up the thickness of the landfill cover to prevent roots penetrating the landfill, it may be desirable to line the surface with a low permeability material such as clay to reduce the amount of water infiltrating into the landfill. Typical planting species should include spreading swamp sedge (Carex lessoniana), oioi (Apodasmia similis) hebe (Hebe speciosa), wiwi (Ficinia nodosa), and harakeke (Phormium tenax).

Coastal broadleaf forest
Typical species in the first generation of planting include but are not limited to large fruit karamu* (Coprosma macrocarpa subsp. minor), taupata (Coprosma repens), kanuka (Kunzea robusta), manuka* (Leptospermum scoparium var. scoparium), wharangi (Melicope ternata), mahoe (Melicytus ramiflorus), ngaio (Myoporum laetum), mapou* (Myrsine australis), kawakawa (Piper excelsum subsp. excelsum), and houpara* (Pseudopanax lessonii). The second generation of enrichment planting could include pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), tanekaha (Phyllocladus trichomanoides), pukanui (Meryta sinclairii), tawapou (Planchonella costata), and kowhai (Sophora chathamica).

Parkland trees
Typical species include pohutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa), tanekaha (Phyllocladus trichomanoides), tawapou (Planchonella costata), and kowhai (Sophora chathamica).


Saltmarsh communities
There is an opportunity to expand saltmarsh communities on the landward edge of the reserve, in conjunction with management of the edge of the landfill and other low-lying areas. Saltmarsh communities are a type of wetland occupying the intertidal to supratidal zone and inland, just above mean high water tide. Herb fields usually develop on rocky outcrops subjected to salt spray and coastal winds.

A unique opportunity for experimental trials to be conducted to inform restoration work elsewhere in Auckland.

Coastal broadleaf forest
There is an opportunity to increase extent and diversity of existing coastal vegetation and riparian corridor for roosting and feeding resource for native lizards and birds along the perimeter of the reserve.

Initial plantings include hardy trees and shrubs that can cope with exposed conditions and provide suitable coloniser (or nurse) vegetation for forest trees that are unsuitable for planting directly into a bare site.

It is recommended that the width of the riparian corridor should be a minimum of 20 metres to reduce edge effects and the likelihood of weed infestation resulting in self-sustaining, low maintenance native vegetation.


Design considerations for Meola Reef Te Tokoroa

• Provide interpretation signage revealing and explaining the ecology of Meola Reef and the risks to that ecology of offleash dogs
• Develop strategies to adapt to the ongoing effects of climate change and sea level rise on the use and ecology of the reserve
• Ensure that any and all vegetation clearance considers the risk of disturbing habitat for birds and lizards
• Develop strategies for planting on site that will reduce and if possible, eliminate the risk of roots penetrating into refuse
• Continue weed management
• Further research the possible value of the Meola Reef as a dotterel breeding ground.

Protecting Meola Reef Te Tokoroa, Waitītiko Meola Creek and Te Wai Ōrea / Chamberlain Park

The information from sampling undertaken during the current monitoring period indicates that discharges from the site are stable.

Leachate at Meola Reef is primarily generated through the up-welling and through flow of groundwater from the underlying basalt aquifer. It is also generated when rainfall infiltrates the capping material and passes through the refuse.

Balancing areas for nature conservation identifies access to Meola and Motions Creek as key features to maintain, despite the known health risks associated with the poor water quality. The 'wild' natural character of the site is also intrinsically important as well as native vegetation and potential to improve water quality.


What we need to do forMeola Reef Te Tokoroa is:

maintain and enhance ecological values
reveal, explain and celebrate the multi-layered history
Important outcomes include:

controlling pest plants and animals
maintaining the 'wild' character
protecting sensitive ecological areas
Te Wai Ōrea / Western Springs and Chamberlain Park – with the underlying aquifer Te Tatua-a- Riukiuta and Waitītiko-Waiateao Creeks – form central Auckland’s volcanic heartland. Both are open green spaces good for human health and Albert-Eden Community. A rare aquatic moss (Fissidens berteroi) exisits at several locations along the creek. This volcanic aquifer (25sq/km) contains the largest volume of groundwater protected by Auckland Council. It has water availability of 9.6 million cubic meters per year. See above the Meola Aquifer – clear spring water at STEPS wetland on Meola Creek, Mt Albert. May 2017.

The Meola creek catchment has a total area of approximately 1555 hectares, accounting for approximately 10 per cent of the total isthmus area. The Motions catchment has a total area of 544 hectares and is largely piped with relatively short lengths of open water through Western Springs and channelised sections through the Auckland Zoo.

The State of Auckland Freshwater Report Cards provide a reference guide for the overall quality of the water for an area of the city across the criteria of water quality, flow patterns, nutrient cycling, habitat quality and biodiversity. The report card for the Albert-Eden Roskill area, which includes Meola Creek, received an overall grade of ‘E’, where A is the highest achievement and F is the lowest. It is understood that of the base flow of Meola Creek, approximately 30 per cent is ground water, 40 per cent is runoff and 30 per cent is combined sewer overflow. The report card for the Waitematā Local Board area, which includes Motions Creek received an overall grade of ‘D’.

There are a number of causes affecting the water quality in Meola and Motions creeks, in particular the storm-water runoff from impervious surfaces such as roads and carparks and the combined sewer outfalls.

Meola Creek – the largest Auckland isthmus catchment (15sq/km) – transports one million cubic meters of stormwater driven sewage, sediment and heavy metals reaching Waitemata Harbour every year; the most of any catchment in Auckland. Auckland Council’s SafeSwim program shows many beaches and waterways not suitable for swimming. Widely understood; clean water will become more and more valuable to New Zealanders and humanity.

We need to protect the aquifer, streams, lakes and wetlands while seeking benefits for the people of Auckland and the future. We take heart from New Zealand’s progress such as the Whanganui River being granted legal rights of a person: “Ko au te awa, Ko te awa ko au” meaning; I am the river, the river is me.

Preservation of Meola Reef Te Tokoroa
Meola Reef Te Tokoroa Social Nature Movement
Auckland is one of many cities worldwide reassessing use of public land in an era of sustainability. Social Nature Movement embraces this sustainability for Meola Reef Te Tokoroa. The easiest and most engaging way to do this is in the Maori proverb: “He Tangata, He Tangata, He Tangata” (it is the people, the people, the people). Without people, change doesn't happen. The more people we can take to and engage with Meola Reef, the more value the reef has then the more protected it becomes. Because we live in such an urban environment and modern age, we should be protecting and preserving as much nature as we can. Open space in Albert Eden should remain as open space for future generations, not as impervious car parks and paths, concrete swimming pool or other buildings.


Cultural indicators at Meola Reef Te Tokoroa

A cultural indicator is a marker or signpost showing change in state of health and well-being of resources of the specific environment or ecosystem of both Māori values and the wider system.

In 1998 A Māori advisory panel provided a concept and definition of a Māori environmental performance indicator:

“A Māori Environmental Performance Indicator (MEPI) is a tohu created and configured by Māori to gauge, measure or indicate change in an environmental locality”

Social Nature Movement leads communities toward setting environmental goals (defined by that community) so we can all understand the health and well-being of cultural resources.

Cultural indicators have local context and meaning developed from long-term relationships within specific places giving important meaning and relevance to whānau, marae, hapū, iwi, and kaitiaki communities to make them relevant and connected. This strengthens and preserves the reo (language) for a community around resources, species, customary use, and management of resources. This means local knowledge is specific and understood within a local context of interactions between tangata whenua and resources.

Social Nature Movement represents unique and rich Māori history, tikanga and language central the Waitemata identities. Meola Reef, Waitemata Harbour and its people ‘glisten’ because the knowledge represented is important to all stakeholders and has a special place within your local environment. Let us help you explore further and engage deeper by journeying along Meola Reef.


Preservation of Meola Reef Te Tokoroa

Buried shipwreck in Meola Reef

Even Owha the leopard seal has been on our journey!

Value contrasting wonders in New Zealand’s biggest city; get away without going away.

The world-renowned educationalist Ken Robinson said:

“sometimes getting away from school is the best thing that can happen to great mind”


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This changes depending on what we do and where we go, but generic items are:


  • Thermal bottom leggings,
  • Underwear,
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Swimwear
  • Socks
  • Thin merino shirt / thermal shirt x 2
  • Fleece jumper x1
  • Woolen jumper x1
  • Wind and Rain-proof Jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm beanie
  • Neck warmer / scarf
  • Warm gloves


  • Jandals
  • Closed-toe footwear
  • Sunglasses
  • Personal medication
  • Water bottle,
  • Head torch,
  • Toiletries.
  • Waterproof pack liner
  • Backpack to put all of the above in

All of the above is available to rent / hire / buy

  • Pricing Name
    Group (Min-Max)
  • Pricing Name Price
    1 - 20 Pax
    Available Seats: 20

    Adult ( 1 - 20 Pax ) $99.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +

    Child ( 1 - 20 Pax ) $89.00 $0.00 /Person

    - +