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History of Aroha Island Charitable Trust
Aroha Island is a 12 ha sanctuary in the Kerikeri Inlet. The island is protected by an Open Space Covenant under the QE11 National Trust. It is not a "true" island as it is connected to the mainland by a causeway and only 10 minutes from Kerikeri CBD. It is rich in cultural and natural history and hosts a cross section of New Zealand unique flora and fauna (including the North Island Brown Kiwi, Fernbird, and Banded Rail). Archaelogical features include midden debris, stone alignments, stone heaps, burial ground and terraces.
Aroha Island is owned by QE11 National Trust. The Aroha Island Charitable Trust was formed and incorporated in 2007 following local residents' concerns when the QE11 National Trust put the island up for lease by public tender with a possible commercial lease. The Aroha Island Charitable Trust has leased Aroha Island from the QE11 National Trust since 2007. The objectives of the Trust are
- to provide a Centre of Excellence for the preservation and advocacy for the North Island Brown Kiwi
- to encourage the appropriate public use of Aroha.
- to preserve and enhance the island's fauna and flora and habitats in accordance with the existing open space covenant
- to preserve the natural vista
- to respect waahi tapu and protect sites of archaelogical significance
- to provide an exemplary visitors' centre
- to protect the land from sub-division
- to ensure democratic community participation
Since being offered the lease, Aroha Island Charitable Trust went ahead with deferred maintenance and other preparation for opening the island on 16 December 2007. Thousands of voluntary hours have contributed to establish the Trust, complete deferred and on-going maintenance and re-establish the information centre. Some funding has been obtained from the Far North District Council, Pub Charity, Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate, the Southern Trust and donations of items and professional advice have been received from the community.. In 2009 the Trust was awarded the premier TrustPower Community Award for the Far North District for the work done in securing the lease and management of the island.
The Trust now takes a governance role and contracts seasonal on-site volunteer managers to manage the day-to-day running of the island. This includes handling the accommodation of a 3 bedroom Kiwi Lodge with sea views, 2 cottages in a bush setting (Tui Cottage sleeps 6 and Fantail Cottage sleeps 4) and the extensive camping ground. Many activities such as grounds and building maintenance and educational talks are still carried out by volunteers.