Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


On Christmas Day, passengers from a cruise ship will be in for a Christmas treat - visiting Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve.

Date:  20 December 2016

Department of Conservation’s Kāpiti Wellington District Operations Manager Jack Mace says. “It’s the first time in more than 12 years there has been a cruise ship so near to Kāpiti Island, so although this will be an unusual sight, people can be assured that the visit is allowed.”

One of the island’s registered tour operators, Kāpiti Island Nature Tours will escort around 60-80 cruise ship visitors to the island to enjoy a few hours of guided walking on the unique predator-free sanctuary.

At just 5 km from the Kāpiti Coast, the island is one of the country’s most accessible Nature Reserves with rare birds such as kiwi, takahē and kaka. DOC works hard to keep Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve free from pests so the precious native wildlife and habitat remains safe.

“DOC will work with the tour operator, the cruise company and their passengers to ensure the strict biosecurity code of the island is maintained,” said Mr Mace. “Extra conditions have been applied to the operator’s permit to make sure biosecurity is upheld.”

The Caledonian Sky, a 91 metre ship, will not be allowed to anchor in the Marine Reserve, or discharge any effluent, and will use tenders to transport the passengers to the Kāpiti Island shore.

Like all visitors to Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve, the cruise ship passengers will require a permit to land and must adhere to strict conditions of entry to this unique island. These include thoroughly cleaning boots and walking poles, and inspecting packs and pockets for stow-away seeds, soil, and invasive animals.

“We are stoked to welcome these rare visitors for a Christmas treat,” said Mr. Mace, “Its business as usual for us that the island’s biosecurity and the marine reserve’s integrity will not be compromised.”

“Kāpiti Island is a real gem – a unique example of the bird-land New Zealand once was – we are always keen to find ways to offer that experience to more people.”

The Department of Conservation aims to connect more people with nature and hopes that at least half of all international visitors will come to New Zealand to connect with our natural places by 2025.


Lee Barry
Community Ranger, Kapiti Wellington
Department of Conservation
Phone: +64 4 470 8439

Back to top