Nature and conservation
Tiritiri Matangi Island is a Treasure Island
Tiritiri Matangi ("looking to the wind" or "wind tossing about") is one of the most successful conservation projects in the world. Unwanted predators have been eradicated, and the once-pastoral island has been replanted with native trees. Rare native birds and animals have been returned to its now-safe and restored habitats.
As an open sanctuary you can visit Tiritiri Matangi and see some of New Zealand's most endangered birds in the wild, including takahē, kōkako, saddleback/tīeke and hihi or stitchbird.
Tiritiri Matangi is a world renowned island sanctuary that attracts more than 20,000 visitors annually.
Takahe, Tiritiri Matangi Island
Managed by the Department of Conservation in partnership with Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi the island has the status of an open sanctuary. This allows the public to visit and enjoy the natural splendour of rapidly regenerating native forest and ever increasing birdsong.
Since 1984, around 300,000 native trees have been planted allowing the reintroduction of threatened native bird specials as well as tuatara, New Zealand’s living dinosaur.
The Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi, a voluntary community group, is a major contributor to the success of Tiritiri Matangi as an open sanctuary. Thousands of people have volunteered their labour or donated money to the project.
Over 280,000 trees were planted by volunteers on Tiritiri Matangi between 1984 and 1994. Most replanted areas are now well established and volunteer work has shifted to tasks like providing guided tours, maintaining facilities, conserving historic features and financial support.
The Supporters opened a new visitor centre on the island in 2005, which they funded. This will showcase information about Tiritiri Matangi and also houses a shop and office.
Tiritiri Matangi is 4 km off the coast of Whangaparaoa, north of Auckland.
Visitors arriving at Tiritiri Matangi Island wharf
There is a ferry service that operates Wednesday to Sunday, on public holidays (except Christmas Day), and every day from 26 December to the third Sunday in January. During the peak season (November to April), the ferry can get booked up well in advance. Visit the 360 Discovery website to check availability.
Private boats and kayaks can also visit the island. A suitable landing is found at Hobbs Beach on the western side of the island, where there is good swimming and snorkelling.
Know before you go
Tiritiri Matangi Island is pest-free - help keep it this way.
Conditions of visiting Tiritiri Matangi Island
You can help ensure the long term success of keeping pests off this island and preventing reinvasion. Before you leave the mainland or travel between islands in the Hauraki Gulf:
- Check your boat or kayak and gear for rats, mice, Argentine ants, rainbow skinks, soil and seeds.
- Clean footwear, clothing and gear of soil and seeds – weeds are a significant problem on the island.
- Pack luggage and all food you are bringing to the island in pest-proof containers – not in open bags/boxes/containers or plastic bags.
- Leave your dog and other pets at home – they pose a risk to the native species on this island.
- Read the Treasure Islands biosecurity information.
Visitor cleaning shoes at biosecurity checkpoint, Gulf Harbour, before getting on the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi Island
While on the island
- Keep to the tracks so you don't disturb rare plants and birds, or scientific studies being carried out on the island.
- Do not feed the wildlife on the island.
- Do not take samples of any plants or wildlife.
- Do not play any bird call tapes or other devices to lure birds.
- Do not smoke on the island, except on the concrete area at the wharf and outside the Visitor Centre.
- Do not light fires or use barbecues - fires can easily get out of control and could devastate the island's habitats.
- Do not camp anywhere on the island.
- Take your rubbish off the island with you.
Non-compliance with these conditions may result in prosecution.
Fires on Hauraki Gulf islands
There is a total fire ban on islands in the Hauraki Gulf (with the exceptions of Waiheke, Great Barrier, Kawau and Rakino, where you can light a fire if you have a permit). Check the current Hauraki Gulf fire conditions.
Working together to protect the Hauraki Gulf
From small beginnings mighty things can grow, and from small beginnings mighty things can go. A single spark can be devastating to Auckland's treasured islands—and everything that lives there. If you see a fire call 111.
What to bring
Bring the following items:
- Food - there is no food available for purchase on the island
- Good walking shoes and suitable clothing
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Binoculars, camera (optional)
If staying overnight you must also bring:
Check the Tiritiri Matangi Island bunkhouse information for more on what to bring for your stay.
Good to know
There is a Visitor Centre and shop at the top of the hill near the lighthouse. Gifts and cold drinks are available from the shop. The shop is generally open from 11am to 3pm on the days the ferry visits the island. All profits from the shop go back to supporting projects on the island e.g. track maintenance and wildlife programmes.
There is no phone available for use on the island apart from in an emergency. Cell phone coverage is good on the grass outside the bunkhouse.
This information is part of the Tiritiri Matangi Island visitor information pack (PDF, 1309K).