10 years pest-free, drought and reintroducing Wētāpunga.

What Project Island Song achieved over the last year

Over the last year, we have continued to deliver on our ongoing priorities, including the vital biosecurity, weeding, and habitat restoration programmes. In addition, we have focused our minds on long-term ecological restoration planning and the development of the Project Island Song strategic goals to meet its delivery.


Volunteers are the powerhouse of our work. To help empower our volunteers we implemented an integrated volunteer management system, the Project Island Song Volunteer Hub. Volunteers can now take control of their own dashboard and how and when they want to volunteer. The Volunteer Hub also improves our abilities to manage our growing portfolio of volunteer activities, enables more proactive engagement and communication, and improves our record keeping.

Celebrating 10-years pest-free

Celebrating 10-years pest-free was an incredible achievement and a highlight of the year. It has taken a lot of work by hundreds of people to not only achieve seven pest-free islands but to keep them pest-free


We have also faced major challenges. Northland experienced exceptionally low levels of rainfall. The impact the drought had on the islands was clear, with streams drying up and vegetation wilting. Along with water stations provided on private properties, over 60 temporary water stations were placed on Public Conservation Land for thirsty wildlife. Key to their impact was keeping the water stations clean, as unkempt dirty water can be devastating, due to disease infestation. Getting thousands of litres of clean water distributed to the islands was a major undertaking and would not have been possible without the amazing support of our volunteers, tourism operators, private landowners, and property managers.

COVID-19 impact

Project Island Song’s work, as expected, has been impacted by Covid-19. Monitoring for pest incursions on the islands, our weeding and planting programmes, floating classrooms and translocations were all put on hold during lockdown. Although this was a tough time for us all, when we were able to return to the islands, we saw that nature had thrived. This prompted us to release our video ‘The Great Return’ which highlights the opportunities both humans and nature have when we have time to stop and reset.

The Great Return video.

Looking towards 2021

In the year ahead, we will continue to deliver our ecological restoration, education, and fundraising activities. Along with the Covid-19 postponed kākāriki translocation, we are beginning the significant work on our next planned species reintroductions. These include Northland green gecko, tītitipounamu/rifleman, and our first invertebrate species, the wētāpunga.

Wētāpunga reintroduction December 2020

December 2020 marks the beginning of Project Island Songs wētāpunga reintroduction programme. Wētāpunga are one of New Zealand's giant wētā species. It is the largest insect species in New Zealand, and one of the heaviest in the world.

This is our first invertebrate translocation, and we will be working in partnership with Auckland Zoo and their captive breeding programme. The reintroduction will take place on several of the islands and will be carried out over at least three years. We hope you're as excited as we are to see these special and unique insects returned to Ipipiri.


  • 10 years pest-free
  • 6 reintroductions to date

Planting and weeding

  • 39,000 trees planted since 2003
  • 4 planting days
  • 28 weeding days

Pest incursions

  • 7 pest incursions, all removed

Members, volunteers and donors

  • 182 volunteers
  • 4,609 volunteer hours
  • 64 generous donors
  • 130 members
Back to top