Ecological Values

The unbroken sequence of forest from coastal to inland forest makes this site unique on the North Island’s west coast. Its forest and shrubland diversity make it of high conservation value

The Taranaki Regional Council recognises Parininihi as a Key Native Ecosystems, and the Department of Conseration rank Parininihi as a priority site in Taranaki

The Waipingao Stream forms the central water catchment, and is surrounded by steep ridges. Biodiversity values are high, with at least 40 species either being rare or absent elsewhere in the ecological district.

Kiwi, karearea (falcon) , kereru, mātātā (fern bird), titipounamu (robin) and pekapeka are amoung noteable species found at Parininihi. Kaka, titi, spotless crake and kōkako were present in the past.

The forest canopy is dominated by abundant tawa, kohekohe, hinau, rewarewa and pukatea; with emergent rimu, miro, northern rata and kahikatea. Tawari, kamahi, towai, puriri and mangeao are also present. Nikau and kiekie are common where the canopy has been disturbed in the past by slips of fires.

The forest understorey is dense and diverse, and has a large population of the now rare king fern Marattia salicina. King fern have disappeared from many areas due to browsing by goats, and it’s presence at Parininihi is a sign of a healthy forest. The healthy forest understorey and sub canopy provides a significant amount of food for native birds, and helps protect the forest canopy from storm damage and drought.

Towards the coast are ngaio-taupata treelands, with scattered patches of titoki, wharangi, ngaio, puka and akeake. Harakeke/wharariki flax are found as well as halophytic herbs, including the nationally endangered Matangaoa NZ cress Rorippa divaricata and coastal forget-me-knot Myosotis petiolata var pansa. Pingao, a significant weaving plant, is found on the dunes.

Off the Parininihi coastline is the 1800 ha Parininihi Marine Reserve, which encloses a typical slice of the North Taranaki coastline, as well as the possibly unique sponge gardens of Pariokariwa reef. The diversity of species encrusting the reef is amongst the highest recorded anywhere in New Zealand and ranks highly internationally.

There are walking tracks through the project area which are maintained by DOC. This includes the popular coastal loop track along the beach under the impressive Whitecliffs.