Mokoia Island Wildlife Sanctuary is administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Kiwi, weka and saddleback are known to live and breed on the island refuge.
The island is currently free of pest species such as possums, rats and mice which have the potential to decimate these bird populations.
Earlier this year, an incursion response was launched after a dead rat was found during a routine pest monitoring survey. The response cost thousands of dollars.
Although rats can swim, it is possible the rat may have been a stowaway in a kayak, boat or backpack taken to the island without sufficient quarantine protocols having taken place.
Kayakers and boat users enjoying Lake Rotorua are being reminded that Mokoia Island is off limits to members of the public without a permit and the completion of quarantine procedures.
Mokoia Island is privately owned and governed by the Mokoia Island Trust representing four iwi/hapu of Te Arawa. Visitors to the island – including trustees and landowners – are required to complete quarantine procedures to prevent the introduction of pests to the island.
Permits to land on the island are currently issued by Mokoia Island Wai Ora Experiences. Strict quarantine procedures are a requirement of permit issue.
Native vegetation and birds thrive in the refuge due to the absence of pests such as possums, goats and pigs. Goats were eradicated in 1989 and two horses airlifted off in 1996. With strong volunteer support, DOC and the Mokoia Island Board of Trustees complete monthly biosecurity checks on the island.