Mayor Island is a tucked away gem that is found 35 Km offshore from the Tauranga harbour. This slice of paradise is known locally as Tuhua has a remarkable history of violent volcanic eruptions and bloody tribal warfare, and in its more recent history it was the home of some legendary big game fishing.
Tuhua’s topography has been a forefront for wildlife conservation since 1953 and is administered by the Tuhua trust board. Not only has it been a wildlife sanctuary for many landform species but also holds a vast biodiversity and is the home of species not typically seen in New Zealand waters such as, green turtles and Lord Howe Coral fish.
A marine reserve at the northern end of the island was established in 1993 and has allowed fish stocks to reproduce to sustainable numbers. One of our favorite sites within the reserve is Snapper Rock, as the name suggests this rock is home to some resident large snapper which love hover effortlessly above the rock to pose for photographs . Swim past the rock and be introduced to an underwater forest with bombies that you will be mesmerized with. Not only will you be mesmerized by this underwater forest but by the white sand and the abundance of fish that transport you to another world.
A distinctive feature of Tuhua is the obsidian rock that has been formed through the topography of the Island. Obsidian is a natural glass formed by the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. Due to its’ sharpness, it was a prized possession of early Māori, who used it for cutting and scraping tools, as well as forging weapons from it. Obsidian was also used in western medical scalpels due to its sharp cutting features. Tuhua’s 1,277-hectare terrain is very rough with rock ridges, narrow gullies and has scarce flat land.
Diving and visiting this hidden gem will make you walk away with a new experience you’ll be talking about for a lifetime.