Tiritiri Matangi Island

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Tiritiri Matangi Island
Tiritri Matangi lighthouse and macrocarpa tree.jpg
Tiritiri Matangi Lighthouse and ranger station.
Coordinates 36°36′S 174°53′E / 36.60°S 174.89°E / -36.60; 174.89
Area 2.2 km2 (0.85 sq mi)
Population (?)

Tiritiri Matangi Island lies in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand, 3.4 km (2.1 mi) east of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula[1] in the North Island and 30 km (19 mi) north east of Auckland. The 2.2 km2 (1 sq mi) island is an open nature reserve[1] managed under the supervision of the Department of Conservation and is noted for its bird life, including kiwi and takahē. It attracts about 30,000 visitors a year.[1]

The name, meaning "tossed by the wind" in Māori, is often popularly shortened to Tiritiri. Māori mythology considers the island to be a float of an ancestral fishing net.[2]

Coordinates: 36°36′S 174°53′E / 36.60°S 174.89°E / -36.60; 174.89


Human use[edit]

The first people to settle on the island were Māori of the Kawerau iwi.[1] Later, members of the Ngati Paoa moved to the island, like the Kawerau partly for shark fishing[1] until about 1700, when the Kawerau regained control and remained until forced to retreat to Waikato in 1821 when Hongi Hika attacked from the north. There were two , Tiritiri Matangi Pā and Papakura Pā.[2]

European (Pākehā) settlers arrived in the early 19th century. When the Kawerau returned, friction ensued as both peoples had a claim to the island. In 1867 the Māori Land Court granted title to the world

A lighthouse was constructed near the southern end in 1864, and remains in operation. The island was farmed from 1894 to 1971, when the lease expired. Management was then vested in the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park Board, which ceased farming in 1972.[1]

Regeneration and sanctuary[edit]

It was hoped that native forest would regenerate naturally, making the island a suitable habitat for native bird life, as it lacked introduced predators such as mustelids present on the mainland. However, afforestation seemed to be happening very slowly and a large number of volunteers was recruited to plant saplings and sow tree seeds. Over 250,000 native trees and shrubs of over 30 different species were planted in the revegetation project from 1984 to 1994.[2]

Forest scene on Tiritiri Matangi

The next intervention was eradication in 1993 of the Polynesian rat, known to Māori as kiore, which was destroying seedlings and competing with birds for food. The kiore were killed by an aerial drop of poisoned bait, which was controversial due to its lack of planning and the effect on other wildlife. For instance, 90% of pukeko on the island were killed.[3]

Seventy-eight species of birds have been observed on or near the island. Endangered native species introduced or reintroduced as part of the ongoing restoration project[4] include the little spotted kiwi, takahē, tieke, kokako, stitchbird and brown teal. In 2003 the tuatara, a reptile, was also reintroduced. Non-native species present include the Australian brown quail. The success of the conservation project encouraged the creation of a number of similar projects around the Gulf,[2] such as on Motuihe, Motuora and Motutapu. The closest land on the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, Shakespear Regional Park has recently (2011) also become a mammalian pest-free fenced sanctuary, increasing immigration of the birds on Tiritiri to the nearby mainland.

Tiritiri Matangi wharf and ferry, day-trip passengers have just disembarked

A ferry service runs from Auckland Ferry Terminal[2] and Gulf Harbour, and guided tours are available. It is a popular destination for daytrippers, with trips often fully booked,[2] attracting some 30,000 visitors annually, who enjoy an intensity of birdsong rarely heard on the mainland. The island has hosted several tens of thousands of conservation volunteers.[2]

The rare tieke or saddleback thrives on Tiritiri Matangi

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Auckland Places - Tiritiri Matangi Island". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Government of New Zealand. Retrieved 3 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Part 2". Inset to The New Zealand Herald. 3 March 2010. p. 8. 
  3. ^ Armstrong, Doug (1999). Tiritiri Matangi Island Restoration Programme - Kiore eradication. Massey University. Archived via WebCite on 21 April 2011.
  4. ^ Tiritiri Matangi Ecosystem Restoration (from the Department of Conservation website)

External links[edit]