Posted on 01st September, 2015
National Geographic Traveller Magazine also recognised this when they rated the Tutukaka Coast "Second Equal Best Travel Destination in the World" Our stretch of coastline has a secluded sheltered harbour, large esturary systems, sand spits, long white sandy beaches, rugged exposed rocky headlands, secret coves tucked away, concealed bays and the biggest jewel of all, the Poor Knights Islands.
What really sets our beaches apart from many others around the country is the beautiful back drop of native bush coming down to the sea. Just imagine Matapouri and Whale Bay without the bush, still quite nice but definitely not stunning.
When early European settlers arrived here with their axes and matches some of the easiest obtainable Kauri forest in the country,along the banks of the Ngunguru River was quickly disposed of. Early reports of the forest between Tutukaka and Matapouri describe solid Puriri with a millable tree every chain (22yards). This highly priced hardwood was felled and shipped off to Auckland for piles,posts and tram track sleepers. Here in the nursery we recognise the superiority of the genetics of our local Puriri tree, faster growing and straighter with larger leaves compared with their counterparts in other areas.
Our coastline could also claim to be the stronghold of Clematis paniculata out on the Tutukaka headland.
Every year in the spring a fellow nurseryman would travel from his central north island nursery to collect seed from Psdeudopanax lessonii (coastal five finger) as he considered this area to be its true home.
In 1839 the missionary William Colenso discovered and described Fuchsia procumbens at Matapouri, the world's smallest fuchsia and the only plant in the world to have blue pollen.
When Captain Cook's botanist described Dracophyllum latifolium (grass tree) around the shores of the Bay of Islands it was widely believed he was mistaken, it being unusual for Dracophyllum to grow so close to the coast until the discovery of this plant growing around Tutukaka harbour.
As Wade and Jan Doak point out in their latest book "Bringing Back the Birdsong", if we are to preserve the treasures of our area it is a responsibility we must all undertake. The Department of Conservation alone cannot slow the decline of our biodiversity.