Motutapu Island
Image: John Mazey | DOC

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


Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki have announced today a rāhui placed on Motutapu since the 30 May 2021 has been lifted.

Date:  21 December 2021

The rāhui was in place to strengthen efforts to capture stoats detected on the island since May 2020.

Since they were first detected on the island, the Department of Conservation (DOC) and iwi have successfully caught three male stoats.

DOC Incident Control Manager Dave Smith says recently there has been some success in the stoat hunt however we must remain vigilant.

“While we hope the stoat caught in November was the last one, our response remains in place until we can be sure there are no more stoats on the island. We’ll be confirming the presence or absence of stoats with a series of dog checks over the coming months.

“The rāhui helped greatly with the incursion response by allowing for the teams on the island to focus solely on capturing these predators. While it is great to see visitors back on the island just in time for a much-needed Christmas break, we ask visitors to follow the biosecurity rules before arriving.”

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Deputy Chairperson Billy Brown noted that the rāhui is an intergenerational tikanga adopted where suitable and enables restoration of wellbeing across whenua and moana.

“The Ngāi Tai nation has used our rāhui here to enable the motu to restore and give it a chance to breathe again during a time of major biosecurity and other challenges.”

Visitors to Motutapu must check and clean their gear and vessels for any pests and seeds and make sure their items are sealed before visiting the island. When people arrive, they may be met by rangers to recheck gear. Dogs are also prohibited.

Ferry services by Fullers will continue to service neighbouring island Rangitoto and Explore Group will commence a service on 4 January 2022 to bring island visitors to Motutapu.

Background information

Motutapu Island

Motutapu has been pest free since 2011 and provides a safe haven for threatened and at-risk native wildlife including kiwi, takahē, tūturuatu/shoreplover, tīeke/saddleback, kākāriki/red-crowned parakeet, korimako/bellbird and native skinks.

At 178 million years old, pest-free Motutapu is one of the oldest land masses in the Hauraki Gulf. The island was intensively settled by Māori and was a base during WWll. Now, following the world's largest island pest eradication programme, it's a fine place to see native birds including the rare and beautiful tīeke. Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki and DOC are focussed on restoring the mauri on the island through various initiatives.

Motutapu is one of 47 pest free islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Visiting pest free islands

Visiting pest free islands, or islands that are becoming pest-free, make sure you check your gear before you leave the mainland.

  • Check – your gear for pests such as rodents and insects
  • Clean – footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds
  • Seal – ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

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, and Marlborough Sounds islands. Check specific rules for a place before you visit.

Explore Motutapu Island – Explore group website


A rāhui (physical and spiritual protection mechanism) sets a temporary prohibition around the rāhui area and limits access for that period.


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