Field Trip | Levels 1-4: Field trip guidance for Manukau Harbour to learn about estuaries. More than 86 bird species have been identified here. The area also has a rich Māori history.

The field notes below is part of the Protecting our estuaries education resource - an integrated curriculum teaching resource using New Zealand’s estuaries as a real-life context for learning.

Download the resource

Visiting Manukau Harbour - Notes for schools and educators (PDF, 1,310K)

Learning opportunities at this site

Manukau Harbour is an internationally significant feeding and breeding area for migratory birds and demonstrates Auckland’s natural coastal environment. The area also has a rich history of Māori settlement and features numerous archaeological sites.

Ambury Regional Park (Ambury Farm) hosts a working farm, shorebird habitat and scenic walks. You can also visit Huia, French Bay Beach, Onehunga Foreshore, and Awhitu.

Self-guided activites

In the notes, you'll find guidance to do:

  • sandy shore surveys - do a survey to look for changes on the shore over time
  • five minute bird counts - find and count the birds along the shore and identify them
  • an estuary survey - discovery seaweeds, plants, snails, crabs and other small animals

Native or endemic species to explore

You can explore the following species here, and use the notes to learn more their habitats:

  • the harbour hosts a significant number of the 100,000 bar-tailed godwit/kuaka visiting NZ each year, who fly all the way from Alaska
  • pied stilt/poaka, variable oystercatcher/torea pango, white-faced heron/matuku moana, reef herons/tῑkāka and paradise ducks are commonly seen along the Foreshore Walk

Learning levels

  • Primary


  • Estuaries
  • Animals
  • Plants

Curriculum learning areas

  • Science
  • Social science


Let us know if you have any questions or recommendations 

Share your stories

Share your stories about learning and teaching in nature. Show others what you've done and also help encourage them.

Back to top