Tiritiri Matangi Island Sanctuary


Created at: 31 Aug 2022


Tiritiri Matangi is an Island in the Hauraki gulf. It used to be farm land but people saw a need to bring the native forest back to the gulf islands. From 1984 to 1994 volunteers replanted 280,000 plants. The island is now owned by the Department of Conservation. The Island had about 4000 pests called Kiore living on the island also known as Polynesian Rats. They were eating berries native skinks, bird eggs and baby birds. DOC decided to do something and create a bird sanctuary. In the eradication process of the Rats, unfortunately, many pukekos and quails and other birds were killed. But it all worked out with the trees and shrubs all growing to form a full forest island with many endangered birds that thrive such as the Kokako which has a population of less than 1500. Other native bird species include the saddleback, takahe, kakariki and even tuatara lizards. Through the removal of these Polynesian rats, with the help of local communities to plant trees the island is now successful and people are able to visit and see what native New Zealand forest would have looked like if it got the opportunity to thrive. A short ride from Auckland city it allows people to see conservation action at work. DOC says keeping the island pest-free needs "constant vigilance". After a storm in 2018 one of the workers spotted rat footprints on Tiritiri Matangi on the beachfront. Many traps, motion sensors, and cameras and three weeks time the rat was caught cost $40,000 in total to keep the island and its animals safe.

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Helena James

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