NZ Nature Fund is managing funds donated to the major project of making Maukahuka/Auckland Island Pest Free.
Nestled in the subantarctic islands 465km south of New Zealand’s South Island, Maukahuka/Auckland Island is a stronghold of remarkable plants and animals. As a Nature Reserve and World Heritage site, it is home to some of the world’s rarest animals like the Gibson’s albatross, Auckland Island teal and Auckland Island rail. In the biting oceans, southern right-whales, New Zealand sea lions and hoiho (yellow-eyed penguin) thrive in the protection of a marine reserve.
The island supports over 500 native plants and animals with more than 100 found nowhere else in the world. The wild landscape is dominated by formidable cliffs carved by pounding seas, coastal windswept rātā forests, alpine tussock, extensive peat fields and windswept carpets of bright megaherbs. This landscape is of great cultural and spiritual significance to Ngāi Tahu, with a long history of Polynesian expeditions to the islands to gather food and settle.
Sadly, we are rapidly losing these precious plants and animals. Over the last 200 years, populations of feral pigs, feral cats, and mice have skyrocketed and inflicted severe harm. Now, 32 native bird species are no longer found on Auckland Island and have vulnerable populations on nearby islands. Large swaths of rātā forests have disturbed soils and stunted understories. Without deliberate/focussed action, plants and animals will continue to decline.
The Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island project aims to eradicate these three devastating pests from the island so that plants and animals can thrive once again. You can learn more about the precious island and project at doc.govt.nz/Maukahuka