Most conservation reserves managed by DOC in the Auckland region are closed to dogs. This is because uncontrolled dogs are known to disturb or kill flightless birds like kiwi, weka and penguin.
Dogs can also attack or intimidate people. Controlling dog access also protects and respects other people's rights to use and enjoy public conservation areas.
Why are dogs not allowed?
Many Hauraki Gulf islands are free of introduced predators such as possums, rats and stoats, and are, or will become, sanctuaries for precious native species like kiwi and takahe. Dogs can disturb or kill these flightless birds.
Dogs are a particular threat to ground-nesting shore birds such as the New Zealand dotterel, found throughout the Auckland region. These birds may desert their nests if they are disturbed by dogs, leaving their eggs or chicks to die.
Dogs may also bother protected marine mammals such as the New Zealand fur seal, whose young commonly haul out onto West Auckland beaches for a rest.
What if I ignore the rules?
It is an offence to knowingly kill, injure or disturb protected native species. Warranted DOC officers have legal powers to seize a dog if it is in an area where dogs are not permitted. A dog may even be destroyed if it is found injuring or distressing native wildlife, regardless of whether this occurs on or off public conservation land.
Dog owners who commit an offence may face imprisonment for up to 12 months, or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
In addition, many reserves have active pest control programmes. Traps or bait stations could injure or poison your pet.
Boating with your pet
If you are on a boat with your dog, you cannot take your dog ashore onto a DOC-managed conservation island (including the foreshore) to let it relieve itself.
The foreshore includes the entire beach area down to the low tide level.
Kiwi and dogs don't mix
Avian awareness and avoidance training will help reduce the threat dogs pose to kiwi and other native ground-dwelling birds. It teaches dogs that these birds are something they should stay away from.