Momorangi Bay area is an ideal location for conservation education outside the classroom. This information will help you plan and get ready for your trip.

About the resource

The Momorangi Bay area is easily accessible, encompasses a number of different habitats and provides quality camping facilities.

This site is ideal for groups wanting to study the marine or freshwater environments and to learn about a regenerating forest ecosystem and conservation techniques.

This guide is to be used in conjunction with our Habitat Heroes resources and other websites as indicated. Kathmandu has also sponsored resource kits for use on site. 

Download the Momorangi field trip information as a PDF (1,270K)

Getting there

Momorangi Bay is located 14 km/25 minutes from Picton and 20km/35 minutes from Havelock on Queen Charlotte Drive. View on Google Maps.


  • All equipment to undertake activities in the forest, stream and marine Habitat Heroes programmes
  • Ample parking for buses and cars
  • An interactive interpretation walk
  • Picnic and camping areas and a small shop
  • Modern toilets and hot water showers
  • A large kitchen with audio-visual facilities (TV, DVD player, whiteboard); a large deck for outdoor teaching
  • Open spaces for games
  • Safe swimming beach
  • Kayaks for rent – please contact the camp managers
  • Jetty if using boat operators
  • Two cabins sleeping three people
  • 8 Kathmandu 3pp tents and 25 sleeping mats available for use by school groups


Refer to the Ensuring Safe and Fun Exploration sections in each resource. Hazards specific to Momorangi Bay include:

  • Always undertake foreshore activities at low tide and be aware of incoming tides.
  • The rocky shore can be slippery and sharp; always wear solid footwear, work at low tides and be aware of incoming tides.
  • The stream, while shallow is quite bouldery in the upper reaches and may be slippery. It can flood in high rain fall.
  • There are wasps in the reserve, and can be high January to April. There may be a poison control programme using bait stations over this time.
  • The main road is heavily used over summer. Take extreme care crossing the road. There is also a public road running through the campground.
  • There are predator traps along the track. These are in boxes or set up trees and should not be touched
  • This is a high public use area. Have adequate precautionary supervision available.
  • There is one main short walk managed by DOC "Momorangi Forest Experience". There are other tracks in the area eg up to a lookout, but they are not managed by DOC. Please note that these tracks are not maintained and caution should be used if walking on these tracks.

Pre-trip planning

  • Ensure you download and print off the relevant forms and instructions – these will not be available on site.
  • There will be a list of equipment listed in Appendix 1 that you should bring and a list that is provided your use and is on site.
  • Notify the Momorangi Campsite of your visit and book the relevant kits.
  • Book your camping areas directly with the camp managers +64 3 5737865.
  • Depending on the season and current camper bookings it may be possible to sole book the upper kitchen and bathroom facilities. This won't be available from mid December to late February.

During your trip

It is your responsibility to tidy up the equipment. When you leave, make sure all equipment is left in a clean and dry state in the correct bins in the shed, so the next group can use it and have a quality experience.

Notify DOC Picton office at if any gear needs to be replaced.


Explore your local marine environment

Activity: Foreshore treasure hunt

Equipment provided (5 sets):

  • Laminated cards
  • Waterproof sandy & muddy shore guides
  • Waterproof rocky shore guides

Activity: Marine metre2

Equipment provided (5 sets):

  • Waterproof sandy & muddy shore guides
  • Waterproof rocky shore guides
  • Quadrants
  • Sieves
  • Cores
  • Trowels
  • Trays

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Instructions*
  • Datasheets*

*These can be downloaded from the Marine metre2 website.

Check the tides – ideally you will be undertaking these surveys on an outgoing - low tide (the foreshore is completely covered with a 1.5m high tide).

Activity: Litter audit

Equipment provided:

  • Rubbish bags
  • Gloves

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets (sheet 2)

Explore your local stream environment

Activity: Water clarity

Equipment provided: 

  • Bucket
  • Clear jars

Equipment needed: 

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets

Activity: Flow

Equipment provided: 

  • Tape measure
  • Tennis balls
  • Stop watches

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets

Activity: Temperature

Equipment provided:

  • Bucket
  • Thermometers
  • Stopwatches

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets

Activity: Who's home

Equipment provided:

  • Trays
  • Water bottles
  • Laminated ID cards
  • Magnifying glasses

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets

Explore your local forest environment

Activity: Five-minute bird count

Equipment provided:

  • Stopwatches
  • Binoculars
  • Bird ID books
  • Bird ID sign and audio station

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets (sheet 1) 
  • Blank paper

Activity: Mini beast hunt

Equipment provided:

  • White sheets
  • Trays
  • Invertebrate ID books
  • Magnifying glasses

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets (sheet 2) 
  • Blank paper

Activity: Plant identification

Equipment provided:

  • Plant ID books
  • Tree signs around track

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils
  • Datasheets (sheet 3) 

Activity: Tracking pests

Equipment provided:

  • Tracking tunnels
  • Tracking cards
  • Laminated ID cards
  • Peanut butter

Equipment needed:

  • Pens/pencils

Values of Momorangi Bay


A succession of Māori tribes inhabited the area for several hundred years before the arrival of Europeans. Kaainga (villages) were situated in nearby Ngakutu Bay and Anakiwa. Maori probably utilised Momorangi Bay for food gathering and possibly temporary settlement. "Momorangi" means 'myraid of descendants from the heavens'. Due to significant earthworks in the mid to later part of the 20th century no evidence of occupation now exists.

In the 1861 a timber mill was built at nearby The Grove amongst a stand of giant kahikatea and soon all the mature trees were harvested. The discovery of gold in 1864 bought 1,000s of Europeans to The Grove and Mahikapawa Arms. The gold and timber didn't last long and small scale farming took over in the 1870s and 1880s.

Momorangi Bay has a long history of farming and most of the slopes were in grassland. Repeated burning was required to keep the persistent scrub (manuka and kanuka) at bay. Farming ceased farming in 1954 when the hillslopes (247 ha) were gazetted for a scenic reserve between 1954 and 1963. The flat ground (6.5 ha) was created a recreation reserve at a similar time and became a popular camping ground.

Momorangi Bay Campground has become the quintessential kiwi holiday for many, with families returning year after year.

Flora and fauna

Since farming ceased in the mid 1950s, the forest has rapidly regenerated with predominantly manuka on the higher slopes and kanuka on the lower slopes. Species such as five finger, mahoe, kamahi, kohuhu, rangiora and ponga are present under the manuka or kanuka canopy.

In the damper gullies the manuka has been replaced by broadleaved species including isolated titoki and pukatea. A small patch of hard beech on the eastern side of the bay are likely to be from one remaining mature beech tree. This beech tree shows evidence of being burnt so may have been part of the original forest.

In the wider Grove Arm area there are pockets of remnant forest which provide clues that Momorangi Bay would have been covered by mixed podocarp and beech forest. Hard beech would have been predominant on most slopes and ridges, black beech on coastal spurs and headlands, pukatea and tawa in gullies, and kahikatea, pukatea and tawa on swampy alluvial flats. There are two swamp maire just outside the reserve at the Grove, constituting one of only two known localities of this species in the South Island. It is likely that swamp maire was formerly common on the swampy flats.

Succession of a regenerating forest

The likely successional trends are for manuka and kanuka scrub and low forest to be replaced by broadleaved species beginning as subcanopy species, and eventually outcompeting the scrub. Later to establish are the taller emergent species like rewarewa, rimu, totara, matai and kahikatea.

Understanding natural processes of succession is helpful when restoring forest. Unfortunately natural regeneration relies on a full suite of species to be available nearby as a source for seed. Many of the canopy and emergent species in Momorangi Bay are very rare or missing so regeneration has stalled. To restore the ecosystem fully, these species are being introduced back into the system.


Momorangi forest is inhabited by good populations of common native species such as:

  • New Zealand wood pigeon/kereru
  • tui
  • bellbird/korimako
  • fantail/piwakawaka
  • grey warbler/riroriro
  • silvereye/tauhou
  • New Zealand falcon/karearea
  • western weka
  • morepork/ruru
  • kingfisher/kotare
  • harrier/kahu.

Around the Momorangi coast the following species can also be found:

  • little blue penguins/korora
  • variable oystercatchers/torea
  • spotted shag/parekareka
  • white-faced herons
  • pied shag/kāruhiruhi
  • little shags/kawau paka
  • black-backed gulls/karoro and red-billed gulls/tarāpunga.

Download the Common Birds of Marlborough Sounds brochure (PDF, 4,848K) to help you spot some of these species on your trip to Momorangi.


While the reserve has vegetation cover of predominantly manuka, further regeneration has stalled due to:

  • lack of seed of canopy tree species, such as beech, swamp maire/maire tawake, rimu, kahikatea and tree fushia/kōtukutuku
  • introduced pests such as rats, possums, goats and pigs impeding the regeneration of the native vegetation, and predators such as stoats and rats preying on native fauna
  • weed infestation by species such as old man's beard and banana passionfruit, which outcompetes or smothers native vegetation.


Weeds are a major management problem in Momorangi Bay.

Wilding pines are considered one of the biggest threats to the regeneration of the forest. Wilding pines are self-seeded pine seedlings from a number of different species; the most common in Marlborough Sounds is Pinus radiata. They are of particular concern in young, regenerating forest where light allows them to germinate. Control requires 'drill and fill method – drilling a series of holes around the truck and filling it with herbicide. The tree disintegrates gradually over time which avoids any land disturbance or damage to surrounding vegetation during control.

Marlborough Sounds Restoration Trust has been instrumental in reducing wilding pines in the Marlborough Sounds. In 2013 the Trust joined forces with Kathmandu, where Kathmandu employees can make donations through the 'Share the Dream' programme. This has directly resulted in wildings being poisoned in Momorangi Bay, as well as contributing to control in Queen Charlotte Sound.

Climbing vines such as old man's beard and banana passionfruit inhibit growth of native trees through smothering and out-competing the forest. Gorse, broom and Spanish heath is common but it is not likely to persist as native plant regeneration advances, except on the forest edges and natural light gaps where they may prevent native regeneration of shrubby species.

Animal pests

Predatory pests such as feral cats, hedgehogs, possums, rats and stoats eat the eggs and young and attack the adults. They may also outcompete native species by eating their food source, eg insects and lizards, seeds and berries.

Grazers and browsers include goats and deer. Goats in particular are having a large impact on regeneration of native plants. Goats will eat the foliage of most trees and plants and quickly destroy all vegetation within their reach, eating seedlings, saplings and litter-fall off the forest floor.

Pigs can also be a problem, feeding on invertebrates, seeds and seedlings and disturbing the forest floor.

Other facilities in area

There are other organisations and businesses that you may use to expand your trip:

Steadfast Voyage of Discovery

New Zealand Marine Studies Centre
Richard de Hamel, LEOTC Educator
Phone: +64 21 462 326

Education team at Marlborough District Council

Phone: +64 27 255 9924

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