In the “Stewart Island/Rakiura Conservation Management Strategy and Rakiura National Park Management Plan 2011-2021

Geography of the islands

The islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area are internationally and nationally significant as they retain excellent examples of their original ecological characteristics.

Stewart Island/Rakiura contains a number of inshore and offshore islands. There are several inshore islands in the waters of Port Pegasus/Pikihatiti and Paterson Inlet/Whaka a Te Wera, and a number of offshore islands are scattered around the periphery of the island. Many of these islands are owned and managed by iwi for the customary harvest of tītī by Rakiura Māori. This seasonal harvest has been carried out for centuries.

There are three main groups of tītī/muttonbird islands. The first group is positioned off the coast of Oban/Halfmoon Bay, the second is adjacent to Port Adventure and Lords River/Tūtaekawetoweto, and the third group is situated to the south-west of Stewart Island/Rakiura.

Biodiversity management opportunity

The Department of Conservation manages a number of islands as nature reserves, including Codfish Island/Whenua Hou, Bench Island and Whero Rock. These islands are very significant as refuges for threatened species. They are used for ecological restoration programmes, are sources of birds and plants for translocation to other parts of New Zealand, and have scientific importance for investigating conservation management methods. Islands such as Ulva Island provide the public with an opportunity to experience first-hand the results of the reintroduction of locally extinct birds and lizards and the conservation work undertaken by the community and the Department of Conservation.

An example of effective biodiversity management is Taukihepa/Big South Cape Island. In the 1960s rats caused the extinction of the Stewart Island snipe (Coehocorypha aucklandica iredalei), Steads bush wren (Xenicus longipes variabilis) and the greater short-tailed bat (Mystacina robusta). These species had already been made locally extinct on Stewart Island/Rakiura and existed only on Taukihepa/Big South Cape Island. A fourth species, the South Island saddleback, was reduced to a small population located only on Taukihepa/Big South Cape Island and came close to extinction. Through a pioneering transfer programme to a nearby island free from introduced animals this species was saved. A rat eradication operation was carried out on Taukihepa/Big South Cape Island in 2006 under contract to the iwi owners of the island, and this is helping the island to return to its former rat-free condition.

Due to the wide variety of island environments that the Department of Conservation manages, a national island strategy is being drafted which will, over time, see the islands managed by the Department of Conservation placed into categories based on a national classification scheme. For the lifespan of this Plan, the offshore islands managed by the Department of Conservation within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area will continue to be managed as described in this Plan.

More than 30 islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area are not part of public conservation land managed by the Department of Conservation. There is a solid history of supporting iwi to manage nationally significant ecosystems and restore biodiversity on some of these islands. The Department of Conservation sees this as ongoing work and supports its continuation as initiated by iwi, as resources allow.

Table 6 outlines the current island classifications scheme for islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area.

Table 7 presents islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area and their current classification and ownership/management details. The islands that are not managed by the Department of Conservation hold natural values that are consistent with the classifications they have been given.

Table 6 - Island classifications within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area3

Island type

Description

Minimum impact

These islands are primarily for the protection of indigenous species and communities, particularly where these are distinct from mainland communities.

Refuge islands

These islands are used for the protection of indigenous species and communities, found both on these islands and on the mainland. However, the introduction of selected species from other islands and the mainland is appropriate where this is necessary.

Restoration islands

These islands are used for the recovery of viable populations of threatened species on islands that have been modified in the past.

Open sanctuary islands

These islands provide opportunities for the public to benefit from viewing indigenous species and ecosystems. Public access to these islands is encouraged.

Multiple use islands

These islands are normally extensively modified and in multiple ownership. Selected conservation activities have to take place around other land uses.

Table 7 - Islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area

Minimum impact islands

Legal status

Breaksea

Māori freehold

Hazelburgh

Māori freehold

Huirapa

Beneficial Tītī Island

Little Moggy (Mokoiti)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Pohowaitai

Beneficial Tītī Island

Tamaitemioka

Beneficial Tītī Island

The Sisters

Rakiura Tītī Island

Whero Rock

Nature Reserve

Refuge islands

Legal status

Bench

Nature Reserve

Betsy

Rakiura Tītī Island

Big (Stage, Tiorea)

Rakiura Tītī Island

Bird

Māori freehold

Bunker

Rakiura Tītī Island

Codfish Island/Whenua Hou

Nature Reserve

Green

Māori freehold

Herekopare (Te Marama)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Jacky Lee

Rakiura Tītī Island

Kaimohu

Beneficial Tītī Island

Kundy (North)

Rakiura Tītī Island

Motonui (Motunui, Edwards)

Rakiura Tītī Island

North (Pikoiti)

Rakiura Tītī Island

Poutama

Beneficial Tītī Island

Putauhinu (Putauhina)

Rakiura Tītī Island

Timore (Chimneys)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Wharepuaitaha (Te Wharepuaitaha)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Womens (Pikomamaku)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Restoration islands

Legal status

Mokonui (Big Moggy)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Taukihepa/Big South Cape

Beneficial Tītī Island

Ernest (Port Pegasus)

Rakiura Tītī Island

Ernest Islands - Outer

Rakiura Māori Land Trust

Kaihuka

Beneficial Tītī Island

Kaninihi

Rakiura Tītī Island

Kopeka

Rakiura Tītī Island

Horomamae (Owens)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Pihore

Rakiura Tītī Island

Pomatakiarehua

(Te Pohomatakiarehua)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Potuatua (Pohotuatua)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Pukeweka

Rakiura Tītī Island

Rat

Rakiura Tītī Island

Rukawhakura

Rakiura Tītī Island

Soloman (Rerewhakaupoko)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Takiwiwini

Rakiura Tītī Island

Tia (Entrance)

Beneficial Tītī Island

Weka

Rakiura Tītī Island

Open sanctuary islands

Legal status

Anchorage Island

Rakiura National Park

Bravo Islands

Rakiura National Park

Iona Island

Rakiura National Park

Lords River Islands

Scenic Reserve

Native

Rakiura National Park, Scenic Reserve and freehold

Noble

Rakiura National Park

Pearl

Rakiura National Park

Port Adventure Islands

Scenic Reserve

Ulva Island

Rakiura National Park and freehold

Multiple use islands

Legal status

Bravo Island

Scenic Reserve and freehold

Ruapuke Island

Freehold

Lonnekers Rock

Conservation stewardship

Beneficial Tītī Islands are owned by the beneficial owners and managed through the Rakiura Tītī Islands Committee.

Rakiura Tītī Islands are owned by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and managed by the Rakiura Tītī Islands Administering Body.

Rakiura National Park is managed by the Department of Conservation under the National Parks Act 1980.

Māori Freehold islands are managed by the individual landowners.

Freehold islands are managed by the individual landowners.

Nature Reserves and Scenic Reserves are managed by the Department of Conservation under the Reserves Act 1977.

Management objectives

  1. To maintain and enhance the ecological characteristics and indigenous biodiversity on islands.
  2. To ensure that biosecurity measures are in place to prevent the spread of introduced organisms to islands.
  3. To protect and maintain places of cultural and historical interest on islands in a manner consistent with the purpose for which the lands are held and within the objectives for those sites.
  4. To foster the community’s stewardship and enjoyment of offshore islands, involving them in protection and restoration work on the islands.
  5. To foster and develop working relationships with tāngata whenua to achieve positive conservation management outcomes on islands.
  6. To work with local authorities, tāngata whenua, and island owners for the protection of island ecosystems on islands not managed by the Department of Conservation.

Management policies

  1. Will continue to manage those islands managed by the Department of Conservation in accordance with their status, classification and function as outlined in Tables 5 and 6.
  2. Will assess islands for their ecological characteristics and indigenous biodiversity values.
  3. Will give priority to managing those islands that have undergone pest and predator removal to maintain their pest-free status.
  4. Should continue to carry out species recovery programmes on suitable islands.
  5. May seek to eradicate introduced species from further Department of Conservation managed islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area.
  6. Will inform the public about island conservation by using a variety of media.
  7. Will encourage the local community, including tāngata whenua, adjacent landowners, and concessionaires, to become involved with island conservation.
  8. Will work with local authorities, tāngata whenua, island owners and the community to establish controls, policies and measures to maintain and restore the ecology of islands within the Stewart Island/Rakiura CMS area.
  9. Should manage visitors to islands, including concessionaires, according to the criteria for island classification set out in Tables 5 and 6.

3Islands managed by the Department of Conservation will be considered as part of the place they lie within. Access to nature reserves is by permit only and these will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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