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Motutapu Restoration Trust
30 mins by ferry from downtown Auckland, Motutapu Island is one of the jewels in the Inner Hauraki Gulf. Farmed since the 1860's most of the original vegetation was stripped for pasture leaving only remnant pockets of native species along the coastline and in deep valleys. The island's geological origins are Jurassic being approximately 165 million years old and it is joined by causeway to Rangitoto a mere 600 year old volcano consisting of lava fields.
Under guidance from the Department of Conservation the first trees were planted in 1994. To date volunteers have planted 500,000 trees approximately 75 ha of the island’s 1509 ha. Motutapu Farms Ltd and MRT share with DoC in management of this island paradise.
In 2011 the island (and the adjacent Rangitoto Island) were declared free of mammal pests. The resultant regeneration in the planted forest and remnant bush areas has been fantastic. The island is large enough to provide sanctuary for numerous kiwi and takahe pairs. The flocks are building steadily and the rise in number and varieties of birds translocated or arriving on their own is inspirational. Saddlebacks, whiteheads, dotterels,pateke and shore plovers have been released to complement the other native birds which thrive there.
The downside to the elimination of rats, stoats and mice is that invasive weed species also regenerate in greater numbers. We have an ongoing battle for control of moth-plant, rhamnus and a suite of other nuisance plants. Our dedicated team of volunteer extreme weeders work all year round to keep our fledgling forest from being engulfed.
The island is blessed with several wetlands which are being enhanced with suitable planting to provided habitat for wetland birds and insects. NZ endangered native fish and koura have been successfully released into the streams.
Activities for volunteers include seed collecting, potting seedlings in the newly extended nursery, extreme weeding - all year round and tree planting during the winter months. Other activities are scheduled thought out the year and could include track maintenance, painting, carpentry or cleaning out the World War II gun emplacements.
We welcome volunteers on our regular activity days of the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month. We can take corprate groups mid week as well. For more information contact [email protected]