Mangakara Nature Walk

Mangakara Nature Walk

Pirongia Forest Park.

Maps

Information

2 km return | 1 hour return

Well-written and eye-catchingly designed information panels interpret the forest and some if its features in a language kids will appreciate.

Access

Access is from the Grey Road carpark.

From Pirongia take SH 39 towards Whatawhata and after 5.5 km turn left onto Te Pahu Road.

After 1 km left again onto Hodgson Road.

After 1.5 km left again onto Grey Road and the parking area is 1.6 km further on the left.

Track

At the carpark there is an information kiosk and toilet.

Shortly after entering the forest is a junction. Right leads to a lookout tower and left to the Mahaukura Track.

If you continue straight ahead along the metalled and stepped track, it descends to another junction. From here it performs a loop with two bridges over the Mangakara Stream.

Return via the same track.

Well-written and eye-catchingly designed information panels interpret the forest and some if its features in a language kids will appreciate.

Geology

Pirongia forms part of a volcanic chain in a belt of weak overlying sediments named the Alexandra Volcanics. Basalt lava erupted between 2.7 and 1.6 million years ago, flowing over 20 km to Kawhia.

These volcanic episodes pierced older sediments of limestone, mudstone and sandstone, dating to over 20 million years old.

Flora

This is an attractive forest with a floor of parataniwha, pukatea, tawa and rewarewa. There are also some fine podocarps like rimu and kahikatea.

At 14,000 hectares, this is the largest unbroken tract of native forest in the Waikato. Tawa are particularly predominant. 58 tree species, 44 shrubs and 110 different ferns are recorded in the forest park.

Polynesian History

‘Mangakara’ means ‘black water’.

The area around Pirongia was settled by the Tainui. The captain of the original waka, Hoturoa, after landing on the Waitemata side, instructed his people to portage the waka to the Manukau side. From here they paddled south, settling the areas around Kawhia and Karioi. He sent explorers inland and the Pirongia region became known as a place of abundant birds.

The name Pirongia is said to have been conferred by the high-priest (tohunga) Raka-taura. He married Kahurere, daughter of the waka captain, and exhalted ‘Pirongia te aroaro O Kahu’ meaning ‘the fragrant presence of Kahu’.

Details

Feature Value Info

Location

North IslandWaikatoOtorohanga

Categories

  • Walking
  • Free

Contact

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DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner