Date: 24 February 2016
A freshwater supply shortage resulting from a dry, hot summer has triggered the restriction of public access to Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington harbour as of Monday 29 February 2016.
The high temperatures and low rainfall this summer have drastically decreased the volume and pressure of the freshwater available to Matiu/Somes Island from the Hutt aquifer.
To protect public wellbeing and conservation values, the island will only be open to the public daily from 8 am until 1 pm from 29 February 2016 until further notice. All visitors must depart the island by 12:50 pm daily. The Department will reschedule or refund any affected overnight bookings.
DOC Kapiti Wellington Operations Manager Rob Stone said, “we understand the disappointment that partial closure causes but, with very limited freshwater available, the island can’t provide a comfortable and sanitary experience for visitors. The situation will be monitored daily and the partial closure will be re-assessed as soon as conditions change.”
If the weather conditions persist, full closure of the island may be required.
“Visitors are still welcome to explore the tracks and enjoy the wildlife on the island during the day,” says Island Supervisor Colin Giddy. “It’s important that visitors are mindful of their water usage while on the island. We encourage visitors to bring plenty of drinking water with them to help reduce water demand.”
Matiu/Somes Island is home to tuatara, kakariki, North Island robin, giant weta, skinks, geckos, and various seabirds. The island is also an important historic site.
While access has been restricted to Matiu/Somes Island, there are many other conservation areas to visit in the Wellington region. Information about places to visit in Wellington can be found on the Department of Conservation website.
For any questions concerning overnight stays or other issues regarding the Matiu/Somes island partial closure, please contact DOC at +64 4 384 7770.
Amy Brasch, Kapiti Wellington Ranger, Community
Phone: +64 4 470 8434