Why you should know about Little Barrier Island
Little Barrier Island is a small place with a huge responsibility. Also known as Hauturu, it’s known as a ‘botanical paradise’ and is one of New Zealand’s most important native wildlife sanctuaries.
The island reportedly shelters more endangered birds than any other in the country, and the number of native plants and species found on the island is said to be roughly 400. As well as this, Little Barrier Island is the only known breeding ground in New Zealand for the critically endangered storm petrol – a species that was thought to be extinct for more than a hundred years until 2003.
Naturally, Little Barrier Island is a specially protected nature reserve, with high levels of care taken to minimise human impacts and prevent new species from finding their way to the island. If you wanted to visit, for example, you would need a special permit.
If you do ever manage a visit, you’ll see for yourself just why this area is such a paradise for birders, photographers, conservationists and anyone else devoted to New Zealand’s native habitats.
Just some of the bird species you could see include the pateke (brown teal), kakariki, kokako, rifleman, grey warbler, tieke, whitehead, korora (blue penguin), and even the precious kiwi. Many of these birds have been abe to thrive since the eradication of the Pacific rat and feral cats from the island in the 1970s.
One great way to see the island is to volunteer for the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust. You would need to be fit and agile to make your way around the island, where you would be helping with tasks such as weed eradication and research. Volunteers also get some free time to enjoy birdwatching, walking, and swimming – a rare treat on a highly protected island!
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist