Boats at Motuihe

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


America’s Cup spectators and island getaway seekers visiting the Hauraki Gulf’s popular Motuihe Island are being urged to abide by “island etiquette” to protect threatened species and ensure the island’s biosecurity.

Date:  11 March 2021

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Adeline Bosman says visitor numbers to the island have surged as America’s Cup racing draws thousands of boaties and spectators to the water.

DOC rangers based on Motuihe have seen; people bringing dogs onto the island, visitors carrying open bags of food which have the potential to introduce pests, and visitors not adhering to the requests and advice of DOC staff.

“It’s great to see so many people out enjoying the racing and experiencing what the Gulf has to offer – but we are concerned about a number of incidents compromising our efforts to protect species on these islands.”

Motuihe is a pest-free island and there’s a real chance an insect or mammal pest could sneak into the lunch bags of visitors to the island. It’s a risk we can’t have people taking as a stray bug or mouse has the potential to undo years of conservation effort,” says Adeline Bosman.

Dogs also, cannot be taken onto the Hauraki Gulf’s pest-free islands.

“We appreciate dogs are a lovable family pet but, we have had one report of a dog chasing dotterels on a beach,”.

The island his home to a number of vulnerable species including kiwi and the endangered New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu. Both species are highly vulnerable to dogs.

“We welcome people to the island to experience this beautiful landscape, but we also want visitors to realise it’s more than just an island getaway – it is a home to our protected species.”

DOC rangers are asking visitors not to bring dogs onto the island and check open bags of food which have the potential to hold hidden pests.

For years DOC has consistently emphasised the “check, clean, close” message for people visiting offshore islands.

The Hauraki Gulf has 47 pest-free islands which are habitat for threatened native species including takahē, Coromandel brown kiwi, tīeke/saddleback, pōpokotea/whitehead, tūturuatu/shore plover and pāteke/Brown teal. 

When visiting pest-free islands people are strictly prohibited from bringing with them any pets and must check their gear for any pests such as rats or insects.

If you see anyone not following the rules, please call 0800 DOCHOT.

Background Information

Visiting pest free islands

When you arrive on a pest-free island, you may be met by rangers to recheck your gear. Dogs are not allowed on island reserves in the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, and Marlborough Sounds islands. Check specific rules for a place before you visit.


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