Mayor Island / Tuhua

Mayor Island (or Tuhua) is a dormant shield volcano located off the Bay of Plenty coast of New Zealand's North Island. It lies 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Tauranga and covers 13 km2 (5 sq mi). The island is quite steep along its coast and rises to 355 metres (1,165 ft) above sea level. A saddle about 75 metres (246 ft) deep separates it from the North Island, while the other side of the volcano rises from the seafloor some 400–500 metres (1,312–1,640 ft) beneath the waves.[1] The island is believed to have risen from the sea about 7000 years ago. Hot springs abound, and there are two small crater lakes, Green Lake and Black Lake. These lie within two overlapping calderas formed in explosive eruptions 36,000 and 6,340 years ago. Mayor Island has exhibited a wide range of eruptive styles, including fire fountains, Strombolian explosions, extrusion of lava domes, phreatomagmatic explosions, Plinian falls and ignimbrite. The most recent lava flows have been dated at between 500 and 1,000 years old.

Mayor Island
Tuhua (Māori)
Mayor Island / Tuhua as seen from Mount Maunganui
Mayor Island
LocationBay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand
Coordinates37°17′S 176°15′E
Area13 km2 (5.0 sq mi)
Highest elevation355 m (1,165 ft)

The island is considered special by Māori (the indigenous people of Aotearoa/New Zealand) partly because of the presence of black obsidian, a volcanic glass created by the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava, prized as a cutting tool. The obsidian was called Tuhua by Māori who called the island by the same name. Captain James Cook called it Mayor Island when he sighted it on 3 November 1769, in recognition of the Lord Mayor's Day to be held in London a few days later.

The area of the Bay of Plenty around the island is renowned for game fishing, with marlin, mako sharks, and swordfish all inhabiting the surrounding waters. The island and the waters close to its shores, however, are now a small marine reserve. There are several tramping tracks around the island, and it is also popular with divers. Several pa sites are known on the island, which was inhabited until 1901. Mayor Island is actually closer to Waihi Beach than Tauranga.

Mayor Island today is a wildlife refuge. A small number of holiday houses are located in Opo Bay on the south coast of the island.[2] The 2001 census showed a population of three, after zero in 1996 and 12 in 1991 (all figures randomised for privacy on a Base-3 system).[3]

See also


  1. New Zealand Hydrographic Chart Number 541: Mayor Island to Town Point (Okurei Point), Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  2. Places
  3. Census Archived 15 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine
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