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History of Shakespear Open Sanctuary Society


Prior to 1853, when the area was purchased by the Crown, a subtribal group, Ngati Kahu, occupied the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Their main settlement was between Te Haruhi Bay and Army Bay, where fortified pa protected the area. The earthwork remains of Maori activity are still obvious in places.
The park is named after the Shakespear family, who were connected to this land from the late 1800s until the Auckland Regional Council acquired it in 1967. The Shakespears built a large homestead on the hill overlooking Te Haruhi Bay around 1910 which is today run by the YMCA as Shakespear Lodge.
Close to the island bird sanctuary at Tiritiri Matangi, Shakespear Regional Park was considered an ideal site to create an open sanctuary: a mainland sanctuary where existing native species can recover in the absence of pest animals but in the presence of human visitors. The sanctuary includes most of Shakespear Regional Park and smaller parcels of land owned by the New Zealand Defence Force (off limits to the public) and the Auckland Council. The project has the full support of all three land owners and the local community.
SOSSI was established in 2004 to mobilise public support for a sanctuary and to raise funds for a pest-proof fence. The Council was granted resource consent for the fence in 2009, and the fence was constructed between October 2010 and March 2011 at a cost of $750,000.
Resource consent for the pest animal eradication programme was granted in January 2011. Pest eradication was carried out in July and August 2011, during which time the time the park was closed to the public. It remained closed for a further 120 days and re-opened in December 2011.
The eradication program at Shakespear aimed to eliminate ten species of pest mammals; brushtail possum, cat, ferret, stoat, weasel, ship rat, Norway rat, house mouse, European rabbit and European hedgehog. Currently the only species remaining are mice (and possibly rabbits).