Waiheke is the largest island within the Hauraki Gulf and is situated midway between the Waitemata and Coromandel Harbours. Its greatest lengths and widths are 12 and 16 miles respectively.
The rolling hills, no higher than 759 ft, are mainly underlain by hard sandstones and siltstones and are used chiefly for sheep farming. Residential areas are growing, especially in the west, as its proximity to Auckland and its sheltered bays and beaches makes it popular both to holidaymakers and to retired people. This popularity will probably increase when shipping services improve between Auckland and the many jetties on the island.
Apart from small lenses of manganese ore near the centre of the island, which were extracted during the latter part of the last century, Waiheke Island contains no valuable minerals. Some of the clear red jasper found associated with the manganese ore could be used as semi-precious stone
The meaning of the name is obscure.
by James Cecil Schofield, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Otahuhu.