The pinkish crust coating these rocks is a seaweed commonly called pink paint. It is also found on some seaweeds and even on sea-snail shells. The pink tufts growing with it are known as coralline seaweeds, because of their resemblance to coral. They are red seaweeds that have calcium carbonate in their cells. In recent years scientists have discovered that pink paint and coralline seaweeds provide an important habitat for young pāua (abalone) and kina (sea urchins).
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Melanie Lovell-Smith
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