Kawau Island Project

Kawau Island low res
The Kawau Island Restoration Project

Tikapa Moana, Te Moananui ā Toi / the Hauraki Gulf

The Hauraki Gulf sits on the doorstep of New Zealand’s largest city Auckland and plays an important role in the daily lives of our people. It is our playground, an area of cultural value and a centre of biodiversity.

With over 1.4 million hectares and more than 50 islands, the gulf is home to plants and wildlife found nowhere else in the world.

Over 70 species of seabirds (c. 20 percent of the world’s seabirds) are found in the gulf; 27 of these breed in the region. Of these, 16 species are found only in New Zealand and five are found only in the Hauraki Gulf.

The presence of these species that are exclusive to the region equal that of entire countries, and is what makes the Hauraki Gulf a globally significant seabird hotspot. The gulf is internationally recognised as an International Bird Area; as such, the region is a taonga (treasure) in need of our protection.

With 85 percent of the Hauraki Gulf breeding seabird species considered to be threatened or at risk, predator free islands play a fundamental role in preventing extinction.

The Kawau Island restoration project marks a key milestone on this region’s predator free journey.

With your support, Kawau Island can become the largest predator-free , inhibited island in New Zealand. 

Hectares of land
Threatened or at risk plant and animal species
indigenous ecosystem types
that are regionally threatened
Tikapa Moana, Te Moananui ā Toi / the Hauraki Gulf

The Kawau Island Restoration Project

Te Kawau Tūmārō ō Toi/Kawau Island sits within the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. It is home to threatened and at-risk native species including North Island weka, kororā and pāteke, as well as many other species of shore and forest birds, including the North Island brown kiwi and kākā.

An ambitious project has begun to rid the island of invasive species and restore the island’s nine unique and threatened ecosystems that have, over time, suffered devastating biodiversity loss from browsing pests. The project will extend a vital predator free corridor connecting mainland Tāwharanui Regional Park to Kawau and other pest free islands in the Hauraki Gulf. It will potentially allow for the reintroduction of native species to the island and offer the option of translocation sites for the future.

At 2,058 hectares, Kawau Island is set to become New Zealand’s largest inhabited pest free island and one of few worldwide, making it a critical milestone on New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 journey. The project has the potential to set the blueprint for mainland predator eradications in inhabited areas, both in New Zealand, and abroad.

A project of this scale requires a collaborative approach, and is supported by Auckland Council, Ngāti Manuhiri Settlement Trust, Department of Conservation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and members of the local community, including Pohutukawa Trust.

Kawau Island’s proximity and accessibility to our largest city, provides an opportunity to showcase that pest free islands and inhabited communities are not mutually exclusive and can co-exist when we have a shared vision based on restoration.

This is an ambitious restoration programme. The initial focus will be on the eradication of browsers, specifically wallabies and possums, and is expected to take approximately two years.

With the removal of browsing pests, nationally and regionally threatened plant and animal species are expected to increase in abundance. Further discussions are continuing with the community as we look ahead to how we can work together to plan and deliver the next stage of the multi-species eradication programme, which will seek to remove invasive predator species (rats and stoats), following confirmation of the successful eradication of the browsing species. You can learn more about the precious island and project here.

The NZNF welcomes all donations, and is seeking to raise $1.5m for the wallaby and possum eradication.

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