Horomaka Island is a place of special significance to the Māori of Koukourārata Runanga.


This island has:

  • no accommodation – no shelter is available for overnight stays. This includes the old hut on the island as it is not safe to enter.
  • no wharf or safe mooring
  • no water supply
  • no toilet

Nature and conservation

The island has a rocky shore and is long and thin, covered with pine trees, and has steep sides. It is about 400 m long and 20 m high, almost flat on top and is covered in deep loess soil. At its closest point, it's only 120 m from the mainland.


The island is popular with birds. Large numbers of Pied Shags nest and roost in the trees. White-faced heron, kingfisher, karoro (black -backed gull) and Canada Goose also nest on Horomaka Island. Riroriro (grey warbler) and Australasian Harrier (kahu) are frequent visitors. Also seen on the island are spotted shag, little shag, starling, blackbird and finches.

Native plants

There is very little native vegetation left on the island. Apart from extensive patches of native iceplant and spinach, there is a scattering of Ngaio, Pohuehue, vines, ferns and grasses.

There is a restoration project underway with Koukourarata and the community. This project is slowly removing old pine trees and other weeds and replanting the eco-sourced native plants. Trapping is also underway to remove rats.

History and culture

Horomaka Island has a long history.

According to legend, this small, rocky island provides shelter for a giant octopus that lives beneath. This octopus guards the coastline between Banks Peninsula and the Marlborough Sounds.

Read more about the history of Horomaka Island.

Getting there

The island can only be reached by boat. Puari is the closest settlement with the island just offshore.

The weather in the area can suddenly change. Be aware of the weather conditions at all times.

Know before you go

Stay out of the old hut on the island. It is not safe to enter and is not available for overnight stays.

The island should not be accessed during high winds due to the risk of hazardous trees.

No open flames or open fires are allowed on this island due to fire risk.

If you find any archaeological sites or historic artefacts do not disturb them.

Do not eat on the island. This island is important to local Māori and to eat on this island denigrates the island's status.

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