The map shows the eastern coast of the Rodney District with Kawau Island located in the inner Hauraki Gulf not far from the mainland.
The private land on Kawau Island is coloured light green and is 90% of the land area. The darker green south-western area is public land, and includes Mansion House Bay at the entrance to Bon Accord Harbour, where Sir George Grey's historic Mansion House is located.
The land is geologically tilted to the west, and this gives rise to the shape of the Island with the harbours formed by drowned valleys on the western side.
All of the main watercourses on the island flow generally to the west for the same reason. The contrasting curved eastern shoreline generally has high cliffs as the remnant landmass is slowly attacked in geological time (millions of years) by the open sea.
There are estuaries and intertidal zones in the harbours, and wetlands associated with some of the larger streams.
The Island has a wide range of habitats for native flora and fauna.
See Map 2 for the pattern of watercourses.
To appreciate the ecological potential of Kawau Island, consider the area of Tiritiri Island at the bottom right of the location map off the coast of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Animal pests have been eradicated from Tiritiri and it is now the home of several endangered New Zealand bird species.
Rare of endangered native birds have been introduced to Tiritiri including the North Island Saddleback, the North Island robin, the North Island kokako, and the takahe.
Now to assess the enormous potential of Kawau Island, note that Tiritiri Island fits into the area of Kawau Island's Bon Accord Harbour!
The range of habitats and ecological settings on Kawau Island could never be offered on Tiritiri. Even the remnant native trees, mostly in valleys, are at least 150 years ahead of the flora on Tiritiri.
The difference is the animal pests on Kawau, particularly the herbivores introduced by Sir George Grey, and the ship rats which probably arrived with the first sailing ships, but also the stoats which arrived recently by swimming the short distance from the mainland, and feral cats which have bred from domestic escapees.