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Cape Sanctuary

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Cape Sanctuary is on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula, on land owned by Julian Robertson,
the Hansen and the Lowe families. Approximately 30 minutes drive south of Napier
New Zealand
Cape Sanctuary is a wildlife restoration project established in 2006 by landowners of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula, Hawke's Bay.

The landowners share a vision extending beyond 50 years to restore the coastal communities of land and sea birds, reptiles and invertebrates that would once have existed on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula. The project aims to achieve nationally significant species conservation gains within a highly modified farming and multi-use landscape including forestry, tourism and recreation.

In 2006, construction began on a 10.6 km predator-proof fence stretching across the neck of the peninsula from coast to coast. The fence took almost a year to build and was completed in 2007. The fence stands at approximately 1.9 m and has a hood capping to prevent animals climbing over. The landowners invested in developing a mesh made from double galvanised long life wire that could endure the harsh coastal environment. The wire is woven into a ‘chainmail’ and has an aperture that excludes all predators except for the smallest of mice. A few other adaptations such as the close 1.5 metre spacing of posts and vertical hanging mesh have all helped provide strength and ease of maintenance.

The fence is "leaky" at the fence ends and at an access road and so an intensive predator control programme operates continuously to “mop-up” any pests that may sneak in from time to time. The combination of a predator fence and pest control programme maintains most predator species to consistently very low levels.

Two people are employed full time to service 1,200 traps for mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) and 2,500 bait stations for rodents (rats and mice). A regular volunteer army also assists on a regular basis.


Julian Robertson, and Andy and Liz Lowe; landowners and principal financiers, Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, Forest Life Force Restoration Trust, Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council, Kiwi Encounter, Bio-Diversity Condition Fun
Forest Life Force Restoration Trust, Victoria University of Wellington, Kiwi Encounter, Department of Conservation, Hawke's Bay Regional Council