Nature and conservation
Rakitu Island is naturally free of many predators and enjoys a great diversity of plant and bird life. The planned pest eradication programme aims to eliminate remaining predators from the island.
The vegetation of Rakitu is made of retired farmland, and forest of mānuka, kānuka and coastal pōhutukawa. The flora of Rakitu features large leaved forms of rangiora and kawakawa. Like nearby Great Barrier and Little Barrier Islands, Rakitu has a remarkable diversity of lichens.
Many native birds occupy the island’s forest and coastal areas.
Forest areas are being fenced off to keep out farm animals and allow full regeneration of natural habitats.
History and culture
Rakitu is a taonga to Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea people. It is the final resting place of the founding tupuna Rehua.
It is one of a number of sacred islands such as Mokohinau and Hauturu-o-Toi. These other islands have already been eradicated of pests, so are thriving with life and taonga species. Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea are committed to restoring the mauri of Rakitu. We want to establish a sanctuary for our seabirds and other taonga species.
Ngāti Rehua-Ngatiwai ki cleared and cultivated the central valley. There are historic sites including a pa (earthwork fortifications) and several kainga (settlement) and whare (dwelling) sites.
Rakitu was purchased from the Rope family in 1993. Europeans settlers grazed cattle on Rakitu for more than a century, before the Rope family stopped grazing in 2013.
Rakitu Island Scenic Reserve is 2.5 kilometres off Great Barrier's eastern coast.
You must find your own boat transport to Rakitu. The only safe landing spot is the sandy shore of Arid Cove on the north-western side of the island.
Know before you go
- For safety reasons make sure you let others know you're visiting the island.
- There are no visitor facilities on the island.
- Tracks on the island are overgrown making access across the island difficult.
- The island's former owners still visit on the island, so respect residential areas.