Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..


Travelling from Auckland or Whangaparaoa to Tiritiri Matangi, the typical 'whitish' cliffs of the Auckland area shine out in the sun. These are the familiar 'Waitemata Group' rocks. They are made up of mainly alternating layers of sandstone and mudstone, interspersed irregularly with thick beds of volcanic debris flows. The Waitematas were laid down in a submarine basin between 22 and 18 million years ago. During that time, volcanic activity began to the west of Auckland, the only remnants being the Waitakere hills. The Waitemata basin was then uplifting about 17 to 15 million years ago and erosion began.
In contrast to the Waitemata Group rocks, the cliffs on Tiritiri Matangi are darker and less clearly stratified. These rocks are much older, part of what is called the 'Greywacke Basement' of New Zealand. These rocks are also mainly mudstones and sandstones which were laid down on the deep ocean floor between 270 and 150 million years ago. They were compressed, fractured and folded in higher temperatures and pressures as they were buried beneath many kilometres of rock. Subsequently, about 100 million years ago, during the early cretaceous period, these rocks were uplifted and began eroding. They later formed part of the basement of what was to become the New Zealand continent. The greywackes, of which Tiritiri Matangi is a part, are known as the 'Waipapa Terrain'.

Greywackes underlie the whole of Auckland. Faulting and uplift to the east of the city have exposed these on Tiritiri Matangi, as well as on Motutapu, Waiheke, and in the Hunua Ranges which are uplifted Waipapa greywacke. Most of the Waitematas which overlay Tiritiri Matangi have been eroded off since the basin was uplifted. They are now only seen on the north east tip, unnoticeable to most visitors.  

Helen Holzer

Photograoh by Kay Milton ©