Stoats caught on pest-monitoring cameras at Mount Holdsworth
Image: DOC

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


Pest free sanctuary Motutapu Island is having a tough run with four stoat invasions in one year. Evidence shows that all stoats swam from the city, adjacent to the island.

Date:  18 May 2021

Stoat presence was first detected on both Motutapu and Rangitoto islands in May 2020 Since then, two stoats have been trapped. One in September 2020 and another in January 2021. 

DOC and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki are working hard to trap two remaining stoats. To aid efforts, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki have announced today a 30-day rāhui will be placed on Motutapu.

The rāhui does not affect Fullers ferry services to Rangitoto, but access to Motutapu will be restricted. Bookings for the Motutapu campsite will be unavailable while the rāhui is in place.

DOC Incursion Response Advisor, Claire Warren says, currently there are 460 traps across Rangitoto and Motutapu, with 150 more being deployed. Trail cams and stoat detection dogs are used every two to three months to track pest movements on the islands.

“We are asking people to take note of iwi rāhui and not to visit Motutapu while our first priority is catching the remaining stoats. Also, stoats can swim long distances and trapping on the mainland will help reduce the chances of them getting to these predator free islands.” Head of Natural Environment for Auckland Council, Phil Brown says the impact on native wildlife from this pest species is devastating.

“Chasing down single stoats in otherwise stoat-free areas is a challenge. Auckland Council have been grappling with this in our parks and we take our protection responsibilities seriously. We are constantly strengthening our pest trapping activities to prevent reinvasion.

“It’s fantastic to see so many people in the community supporting us by controlling pests on their land and helping us on our parklands. It’s those efforts that really help protect our biodiversity.”

Background Information

The Hauraki Gulf has 47 pest-free islands which are home to threatened native species including Kōkako, Takahē, Coromandel Brown Kiwi, Tīeke/Saddleback, Pōpokotea/Whitehead, Tūturuatu/Shore Plover and Pāteke/Brown teal. 

Visiting pest free islands

When 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.

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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