ABOUT LITTLE BARRIER ISLAND/TE HAUTURU-O-TOI

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Hauturu, or Little Barrier, is located just 80 kilometres north-east of Auckland. Hauturu is considered by some to be New Zealand’s most intact ecosystem, and is widely regarded as one of the most important reserves of its kind in the world. Established as a nature reserve in 1895, it is one of the few remaining places in New Zealand that can give us an impression of what this country may have looked like before human settlement..

The full Maori name Te Hauturu-o-Toi' can be translated as “resting place of the wind”. Legend has it that the island is the centre post of the great net of Taramainuku who cast his net from Cape Colville across the Hauraki Gulf to the Whangarei Heads.

Hauturu's 3,083-hectare landmass makes it one of New Zealand's largest offshore island reserves. It is home to a greater number of endangered birds than any other island in the country and is also home to over 400 species of native plants.It is a haven for many of New Zealand's most threatened species, ranging from the prehistoric tuatara to the wetapunga; from the giant earthworm to both species of native bat; and a number of indigenous birds and plants that are no longer found on the mainland. It is the only place where hihi (stitchbird) survive without human intervention, the only known breeding ground of the New Zealand storm petrel, and the only major breeding ground of the Cook's petrel.

It is critical that human impact is kept to a minimum. Visitor numbers and movements are strictly regulated. Consequently, landing on Little Barrier (Hauturu) without a pre-arranged permit from the Department of Conservation is prohibited.

DOC Rangers reside on the island and are responsible for day-to-day management and for the coordination of visiting research groups and working parties.


Threats to the Island

Introduced exotic plants threaten to destabilize the delicate balance of flora and fauna on the island. Most of these noxious plants start their journey to Hauturu from people's gardens on the coastal mainland. Their seeds are carried across the Hauraki Gulf by birds, by the wind, or even by sea. They can also be transferred unwittingly by people, on their clothes or equipment, so constant care is necessary.

The Trust has contributed annually to this war on weeds. For example, it funded several steps in the attack on climbing asparagus, when it was the most immediate threat to the island's ecosystem; and it has taken responsibility for eliminating prickly hakea from a section of the island where it had become firmly established. Funds have also been provided for several years to assist with the control of pampas.


Animal pests


Hauturu has suffered less from introduced animal pests than most New Zealand habitats. When cats were eradicated in 1981, birdlife benefited dramatically. In 2004 a programme to eradicate kiore, (the Pacific rat) was successfully implemented, with the support of The Trust and the island was declared rat-free in 2006.


Download a quick fact sheet providing more information on Hauturu here


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Little Barrier: New Zealand's Ark