Treasured islands of the Hauraki Gulf
Kennedy Warne fullfils a cherished ambition to visit the first New Zealand island that became predator-free -- in 1964. Yes, this is where the dream of predator-free NZ began -- on Maria island, the size of three rugby fields, in a group of islands called the Noises between Tiritiri and Waiheke in the Hauraki Gulf. I joined two of the owners of the privately owned island group, Rod and Sue Neureuter, and an ecologist who was setting out sound recorders to identify seabirds which are nesting on the islands at the moment. We visited three of the Noises islands: Maria Island/Ruapuke, the David Rocks and Otata, where the Neureuters have a traditional family bach. The islands have never been farmed or cleared of forest, which is a rarity for the islands of the inner gulf, and so have retained much of their original character. All of the islands in the group are predator-free, and I will talk about the experience of visiting them, the challenge of maintaining them, and the hopes the owners have for sharing their islands with visitors, and for seeing the entire Gulf become a nature destination.
The images in this gallery are used with permission and are subject to copyright conditions.