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The Tuff Crater Restoration Project

About Tuff Crater

Tuff Crater is an extinct volcano, which last erupted 200,000 years ago, when the Waitemata Harbour was merely a river. As sea level rose, the crater breached. It is now a tidal estuary supporting a host of wildlife including breeding kotare (kingfisher), breeding Australasian harrier(kahu) and banded rail/moho-pereru (naturally uncommon).

The 35ha reserve surrounding the crater contains some quality mixed - broadleaf (kohekohe, puriri, kanuka and  kowhai) forest, but is otherwise heavily weed infested. The reserve supports some 39 bird species, 110 insect species including 65 moth species, 105 native plant species and 120 non-native plant species. The crater drains in and out of Shoal Bay which is a “site of special wildlife interest” supporting a diverse population of shorebirds including NZ dotterel and banded dotterel.


The Restoration To Date

The Tuff Crater Restoration Project is the major project of North Shore Branch of Forest & Bird. Restoration at Tuff Crater commenced in 1999 as a Millennium Project with the planting of bare grass on the slopes adjacent to the motorway below the Warehouse head office.

In 2009 a formal restoration plan for the reserve was written by Te Ngahere Native Forest Management with input from Forest & Bird. The reserve has been divided into 8 management units (MU 1-8)

Weed control work in the main crater commenced in 2009 with spraying of large areas of pampas, destruction by mulching of multiple weed trees and injecting of privet and phoenix palm trees. Volunteers have controlled large areas of privet, elaeagnus, bamboo and Arundo grass.

Volunteer input

Forest & Bird North Shore Branch has managed this entire project on a volunteer basis, seeking quotes for weed control and plants and coordinating and managing the contracts. In addition we hold regular volunteer weed control and planting events. Initially on weekends only, there is now a keen regular weekday working group.


Our volunteer list includes about 200 members and local residents. Local residents  We have had volunteer input from North Harbour Rotarians including assistance with resource consents, surveying, labour and BBQs.

Pest monitoring and control

A pest monitoring program has been running for 2 years, showing high levels of rats. A volunteer branch led pest control program commenced in 2013 to complement the dotterel protection program along the Northern motorway to protect the shorebirds. Monitoring indicates this predator control program is working. 

Track upgrade

Once muddy and impassable in winter, the tracks around the north side Tuff Crater have been upgraded by a project managed by Forest & Bird and funded by the Kaipatiki Local Board and Lion Foundation. Further track upgrade work, including the new zig zag track and access to The Warehouse Way, 3 new seats and 2 lookout points was completed in 2013/14.

Monitoring progress

Bird counts are performed at intervals.

The main monitoring is by the use of photopoints.

More information

See our website


Richard Hursthouse


North Shore Branch