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The volcano on Tuhua, also known as Mayor Island, has been at rest for the last few thousand years. But volcanic activity still defines the island: Its name is a Maori word for the black obsidian glass formed by cooled lava, and the water around Tuhua can be choppy thanks to underwater hot springs that bubble up near the beaches. Fishing is a major draw, as mako sharks, marlin and swordfish inhabit the clear surrounding waters; the island has also been a wildlife refuge since 1953, providing a peaceful home to successful breeding populations of endangered North Island robins and kiwis, orange-fronted parakeets and pateke brown teals. Tuhua’s cliffs hide two crater lakes and a massive forest of the native coastal evergreen tree known as the New Zealand Christmas tree because its crimson bloom appears in December.

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