Matiu/Somes Island Scientific and Historic Reserve is a tranquil retreat for wildlife and visitors alike.
Maori have occupied this island for generations. In more recent times, Matiu/Somes Island has served as a human and animal quarantine station, an internment camp, and a military defence position.
Thanks to the dedication of numerous individuals, groups and organisations, such as the Lower Hutt branch of Forest and Bird, Matiu/Somes Island Charitable Trust, Friends of Matiu/Somes and Eastbourne Forest Rangers, Matiu/Somes Island once again represents a refuge, this time for wildlife and our cultural heritage.
The island opened to the public as a Department of Conservation (DOC) scientific and historic reserve in 1995. In 2009, it was included in the Treaty of Waitangi cultural redress for Taranaki Whanui ki Te Upoko o Te Ika A Maui, which returned ownership of the three Wellington harbour islands to iwi. While still protected by reserve status, accessible to the public, and managed by DOC, their future will be directed by a joint governance board composed of iwi, community, and DOC.
We encourage you to visit the lighthouse, count the number of skinks that skitter off the track, and then pause for a moment to reflect on the island’s past, present and future. After all, you are a part of the next chapter in Matiu/Somes Island’s extraordinary history.
View the Matiu/Somes Island brochure (PDF, 1,083K).