With Rangitoto and Motutapu islands officially declared pest free in August 2011, the next stage is reestablishing native species, and making sure the islands stay pest-free.

Saddleback/tieke on Motutapu Island

Native animals

Not long after the aerial bait drops of winter 2009 which targeted rodents, native species previously not seen on the islands for many years began to arrive on their own. These included NZ parakeet/kakariki and bellbird/korimako.

Tui numbers soared and a number of other small bird species are also increasing quickly.

The following lists transfers of other native animals, unable to reach Rangitoto and Motutapu on their own:

  • August 2011 - takahe released on Motutapu and saddleback/tieke released on Rangitoto and Motutapu islands (as part of the official pest-free celebration event)
  • November 2011 - freshwater species (red-finned bully and native crayfish/koura) released into Home Bay Stream on Motutapu Island
  • February 2012 - shore plover released on Motutapu Island
  • June 2012 - more saddleback/tieke and whitehead/popokatea released on Motutapu Island
  • October 2012 - Coromandel brown kiwi released on Motutapu Island

Native plants

Rare and endangered plant species have been introduced to the Motutapu Nursery and will be planted out once further weed control has been done to prepare sites. Plants include:

Euphorbia glauca.
Euphorbia glauca, an endangered plant to be planted on the islands

  • Euphorbia glauca - currently only found on two island locations and thought to be extinct from the Auckland region
  • Ficinia spiralis (pingao)
  • Poa billardierei

Regular surveys to monitor the survival of Daucus glochidiatus (native carrot) which grows on Rangitoto Island show that this plant is thriving since pests have been removed.

Ongoing surveillance and monitoring

Of all the animal pests, stoats and rodents are most likely to make their way back to Rangitoto and Motutapu because of their swimming ability.

Much planning and action is still focused on ongoing surveillance for pests (including the regular use of detection dogs) and educating visitors about how to help keep the islands pest free.

An active trap network and monitoring regime is still in place with a ranger employed to monitor traps and tracking tunnels. Unused trap lines and closed traps have been kept so they can quickly be set and re-baited should a rodent or stoat be detected.

Tremendous support

The Motutapu Restoration Trust contributes hugely to the restoration programme. The trust and their many volunteers undertake plant restoration and weed removal and assist DOC with bird and reptile monitoring.

Motutapu Island and Rangitoto islands.
Motutapu Island with Rangitoto Island in the background

You can help look after these islands

The successful eradication creates the largest pest-free island sanctuary (3,842 ha) in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, and one of the largest pest-free islands in New Zealand. The islands are less than 30 minutes via ferry from downtown Auckland City. There are no restrictions on visiting these islands.

You can help ensure the long term success of keeping pests off Rangitoto and Motutapu. Before you leave the mainland or travel between islands in the Hauraki Gulf check your gear for pests.

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