Motiti Island

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Motiti Island
Maori: Motiti
Motiti Island, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, 1 April 2008.jpg
An aerial view of Motiti Island.
Motiti Island is located in New Zealand
Motiti Island
Motiti Island
Location Bay of Plenty
Coordinates 37°37′33″S 176°25′20″E / 37.6257°S 176.4221°E / -37.6257; 176.4221
Total islands 1
Major islands 1
Area 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi)
Highest elevation 57 m (187 ft)
Population 27[1] (2006)
Pop. density 2.7 /km2 (7 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Maori

Motiti Island (also spelt Mōtītī Island) is located off the Bay of Plenty coast of New Zealand's North Island. It is 21 kilometres (13 mi) north-east of Tauranga and 9.4 kilometres (5.8 mi) north-east of Papamoa. There were 18 homes occupied by 27 people on the island in the 2006 Census.[1]

A relatively flat island covering some 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi), it is composed mainly of Miocene volcanic rocks, overlaid with more recent sediments in the south.[2] The principal activity on the island is agriculture, with a developing avocado plantation.[3] Most residents and visitors travel to the island by air.


On 2 November 1769 during his first voyage, Captain Cook sailed close inshore to Motiti where he reported the most extensive complex of fortified villages he had yet seen. In his journal he refers to it as the "Flat Island".[4]

On 9 October 2011, the 45' launch M/V Excalibur ran aground offshore in bad weather. The crew of six was rescued, but the ship was considered a total loss.[5]

In 2011 the MV Rena ran aground on Astrolabe Reef. Oil from the resulting spill, as well as shipping containers and their contents, reached the shoreline of the island.[6] In October 2013, Motiti Island residents rejected an offer by the MV Rena's owners to start a development project for the island, in return for being able to leave the Rena wreckage where it lay.[7] The plan included:

  • Building a landing point for barges.
  • Creating a one-lane, all-weather road to the airstrip.
  • Installing a new cellphone tower to improve communications.
  • Running an underground cable from the mainland to improve power supply.
  • Putting a permanent beacon on Astrolabe Reef.
  • Building a Rena memorial from the ship's anchor.


Sunair operates from Motiti Island to Tauranga with Cessna 172 aircraft.

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Coordinates: 37°37′33″S 176°25′20″E / 37.6257°S 176.4221°E / -37.6257; 176.4221