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History of Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary

Once a site of food collection for local Maori, Kaipupu translates from  ‘kai’ meaning food and ‘pupu’ a type of shellfish.  Like much of the Marlborough Sounds, the original forest on Kaipupu Point would have been a mix of hard beech, black beech and broadleaf species like tawa, kamahi and pukatea.  Rimu, totara, matai and kahikatea may also have been present.  
In the early 1900’s, bush was cleared from sections of Kaipupu Point to make way for grazing sheep that were destined for the local meat processing plant.  In 1973, the processing plant closed and this land was gifted to the Crown as a scenic reserve.
In 2005, the current landowners Port Marlborough and the Department of Conservation came together with the community to create the Sanctuary.  Managed entirely by volunteers and with the support of local businesses a 600 metre long predator proof fence was installed in 2008 and this created the first line of defence against mammalian pest species. 
The circular walking track was completed in February 2013 and Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary was officially opened to the public in March 2013.

The biggest threats to life on the Sanctuary are rats, stoats and possums and since 2008 there has been a huge effort by volunteers to remove these species.  An extensive network of traps are checked weekly by volunteers, many of which can been seen along the main track.  Sand traps and tracking tunnels allow our volunteers to detect the presence of pest species using their footprints.  The sand traps are also a great place to spot Little Blue Penguin and Rowi kiwi footprints!
In New Zealand, many native trees rely on birds for pollination or distribution of seeds and as pest numbers decrease more seedlings are appearing across the Sanctuary.  In our restoration zone, you will see large amounts of gorse and manuka, these species act as nursery plants, protecting young native plants from the sun and wind.  In this area, school groups are also actively involved in the restoration process through native tree plantings.  


  • 600m long predator proof fence 
  • 2008 aerial poison drop
  • Currently intensively pest monitoring (for mice and rats) using Gotcha tunnels and ink cards, and wax tags.
  • We use a mix of traps and mixed lures (DOC 200's, goodnature traps...its been a process trail and error...)
  • We have a monitoring grid of 50m x 50m