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Motutaiko Island facts for kids

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Motutaiko Island
Motutaiko Island.jpg
Motutaiko Island as seen from Tauranga Taupo
Location Lake Taupo
Area 11 ha (27 acres)
Length 400 m (1,300 ft)
Width 550 m (1,800 ft)
Coastline 1,500 m (4,900 ft)
Highest elevation 600 m (2,000 ft)

Motuaiko Island is an island within Lake Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand. The lake's largest island, it sits near the town of Motutere.

Natural features

Motutaiko is formed out of a column of rhyolitic lava, connected to the geologic systems of Lake Taupo. The island was likely formed after an underwater magma vent's releases cooled and hardened into a cone, with Motutaiko forming the apex.

Several endangered species live on the island, including Wainuia clarki. Other animals present on the island include small skinks and a colony of cormorants.

Maori tradition

The island is spiritually significant to the Māori people, and landing on the island is therefore prohibited by the government. Rangituamatotoru, a major chief of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa, was buried in a sacred cave on the island in the 18th century.

The taniwha of Lake Taupo, Horomatangi, is said to live in a cave on the island's northeastern face. The creature is also said to be the pet of Ngātoro-i-rangi.

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