Located on the pohutukawa-fringed Whakakaiwhara Peninsula, which juts out into the Tamaki Strait, Duder Regional Park is a 148-hectare coastal farm park.
If you want to experience an escape to the Hauraki Gulf without leaving the mainland, come to Duder Regional Park and enjoy some of the region’s most spectacular 360-degree views.
Its landscape, including rolling pasture, high coastal ridges a remote headland, adds to the feeling of isolation and tranquillity, almost as if you were on your own Gulf island. The peaceful setting provides for a number of recreation opportunities including walking, picnicking, horse riding (by permit only), mountain biking, orienteering, fishing, exploring the rocky shore and swimming at high tide.
Duder Regional Park takes its name from the European family who owned the land for almost 130 years.
In the 14th century, this was the first place in the Waitemata Harbour to be visited by Tainui canoe. Its crew went ashore and harvested forest foods, which led to the peninsula’s name – Whaka-kai-whara meaning ‚ to eat the bracts of the kiekie vine‘.
Some of the descendants of the crew settled in the area and became known as NgaiTai. They lived on the peninsula until the 1860s, taking advantage of its abundant food resources (including seasonal shark fishing) and its strategic location near the Wairoa River mouth. NgaiTai’s affiliation to the land is reflected in the many archaeological sites on and near the park.
The most significant of these are Whakakaiwhara Pa at the tip of the peninsula and Oue Pa several kilometres to the south. The Kauri forest on the peninsula was logged in the 1850s. In 1866 the Duder family began its association with the area when Thomas Duder, a survivor of the HMS Buffalo wreck (1840), bought the 243-hectare property from NgaiTai. His descendants farmed the property until it was sold to the Auckland Regional Council and became a regional park in 1995.
Resident native birds include silvereye (tauhou), kererū, morepork (rūrū), tūi, fantail (piwaiwaka), grey warbler (riroriro) and kingfisher (kotare).
Inter tidal mudflats around the park are important feeding and roosting areas for shore and wading birds such as pied shag (kāruhiruhi), white-faced heron, South Island pied oystercatcher (tōrea), pied stilt (poaka), godwit (kuaka) and gulls (tarapunga). Small numbers of the endangered tuturi whatu New Zealand dotterel (there are only about 1500 of these birds in the world!) breed on shell banks south of the park. This area is not accessible to the public. On the farmland you are more likely to see magpies than tui. The small forest remnants in the valleys are home to a good range of native birds.
While most of the park is pasture, pohutukawa fringe parts of the coast and there are remnants of original native forest cover in the gullies. A few kauri remain but the patches of coastal forest scattered around the park mostly consist of taraire, tawa, kanuka, puriri and karaka.
Source: Auckland Regional Council