Little Barrier Island

Little Barrier Island, or Hauturu in Māori language[1] (the official Māori title is Te Hauturu-o-Toi[2]), lies off the northeastern coast of New Zealand's North Island. Located 80 kilometres (50 mi) to the north of Auckland, the island is separated from the mainland to the west by Jellicoe Channel, and from the larger Great Barrier Island to the east by Cradock Channel. The two aptly named islands shelter the Hauraki Gulf from many of the storms of the Pacific Ocean.

Settled by Māori sometime between 1350 and 1650, the island was occupied by those people until the New Zealand government declared the island a wildlife sanctuary in 1897. Since the island came under control of the government, it has been under limited access, with only a few rangers living on the island. In the Māori language, the name of the island name means "the resting place of lingering breezes".[1] Along with its larger neighbour Great Barrier, it was given its English name by Captain James Cook in 1769.[3]

The island is a nature sanctuary which has been described by the MBIE as "the most intact [native] ecosystem in New Zealand".[4] However, several invasive species were introduced by both Maori and European settlers, including cats, which were destructive to local small bird and reptile species until they were eradicated between July 1977 and June 1980 in what was possibly New Zealand's costliest pest control programme.

Little Barrier Island
Māori: Te Hauturu-o-Toi
Nickname: Hauturu
Little Barrier
View from the mainland
Little Barrier Island is located in New Zealand
Little Barrier Island
Little Barrier Island
LocationHauraki Gulf, Auckland Region
Coordinates36°11′57″S 175°04′53″E / 36.1991°S 175.0814°ECoordinates: 36°11′57″S 175°04′53″E / 36.1991°S 175.0814°E
Area28 km2 (11 sq mi)
Length7.5 km (4.66 mi)
Width5.5 km (3.42 mi)
Highest elevation722 m (2,369 ft)
Highest pointMount Hauturu
PopulationNo permanent inhabitants
Additional information
Wildlife sanctuary


Rahui Te Kiri in 1893 (cropped)
Rahui Te Kiri and her daughter were evicted by the Crown from Little Barrier Island in 1896[5]
Little Barrier Island From Above Great
The island (in the distance) from over Great Barrier Island.

Māori occupied the island for centuries prior to the first European visits, probably first settling there between 1350 and 1650 CE.[6] The initial occupation was by descendants of Toi te Huatahi, followed by Tainui, who were then conquered by Ngāti Wai. By 1881 only a few Ngāti Wai were still living there and the British Crown attempted to buy the island in order to turn it into a nature reserve.[7] After the purchase fell through, the island was instead appropriated through an Act of Parliament in 1894 and became New Zealand's first nature reserve the following year.[7] Maori such as Rahui Te Kiri were evicted from the island by force in 1896.[8] Since 1897, there has always been a caretaker or ranger resident on the island.[1] in 2011 the crown settled treaty claims with local iwi, Hauturu was returned to iwi who in turn gifted it back to the people of Aotearoa.

Access is heavily restricted for conservation reasons, and the island is uninhabited except for rotational conservation staff, scientists and rangers under the authority of the Department of Conservation. Electricity for their needs was provided by a diesel generator linked to a battery bank until 2005, and has since been replaced by twenty 175-watt solar panels, with the generator remaining solely for backup. Over the expected 20-year life-span, the new system is expected to generate fuel savings sufficient to replace its purchase costs.[4]


Māori stonework has been found in fourteen locations on the island, primarily around the coastal flats at Te Titoki Point. Man-made cuttings, which were described in 1895 as ruts for hauling canoes, can be seen on the boulder beach ridge at Te Titoki Point. There are also stone rows measuring up to 60 metres (200 ft) long, 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) wide and 0.5 metres (1 ft 8 in) high, located near the mouth of Te Waikohare Stream.[9]

Stone rows and heaps can be found 200 metres (660 ft) to 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the mouths of Te Waikohare and Tirikawa Streams. The largest is 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) high and 4 metres (13 ft) wide. The most extensive stonework is located in the northwest of the island, near the ridge south of Te Hue Stream, where it is spread over several hectares. This site includes a number of terraces, which are stone-faced or have stone retaining walls. There are also numerous stone heaps and rows, and several free standing stone walls.[9]

Stonework in the northeast of the island is more weathered than in other areas and partially buried. Because of this weathering these features are thought to be older than at the other sites.[9]


The island is an extinct andesitic volcanic cone, roughly circular in shape, about 6 km (3.7 mi) across, with an area of 28 km2 (11 miles2). Its earliest volcanic activity is estimated to have occurred 3 million years ago and the latest 1.2 million years ago. The volcano is most closely related to two volcanoes over 120 km (75 mi) northwest, near Whangarei.[10] The island is steeply sloping, and deeply dissected by ravines radiating from a central range that peaks at Mount Hauturu whose altitude is 722 m (2,369 ft).[11] Te Titoki Point is the only area of flat land on the island.[12]


A dense forest cover shelters numerous rare or endangered animal species.[1] The total number of species of native plants is thought to range around 400, and the island may shelter more endangered birds than any other island in New Zealand.[4] The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because it is a nesting site for vulnerable Cook's and Parkinson's petrels.[13] In February 2013, there were reports of the critically endangered New Zealand storm petrel (Oceanites maorianus) breeding on the island.[14] Kākāpō (night parrots), also critically endangered, were (re)introduced to the island in 2012; as of July 2017, their population on the island stood at 14.[15]

A North Island kōkako feeding in a coprosma tree on Little Barrier Island

When the Māori occupied the island, as much as a third of the island was cleared of forest. However, since the acquisition of the land by the New Zealand government, all but 20 hectares of the island have been reforested.[6]

Bryde's whales, Orcas and Bottlenose dolphins live in the waters around the island. Blue whale[16] and Southern right whales rest in this area during migration.[17] In 2012, there were reports that a southern right whale may have calved near the island.[18][19]


The Pacific rat or kiore (Rattus exulans).[6] were likely introduced as invasive species during the initial settlement of the island by Māori. Eradication took place by aerial dropped poison baits in 2004.

Feral cats arrived on the island in the early 1870s.[6] As in other places where predatory species were introduced, small animals not accustomed to predation likely experienced a decline in population, being pushed towards endangerment or extinction.[6] In survey of studies about eradicating the cats, scientist C.R. ("Dick") Veitch mentions several small species which were likely affected by the cats, including small reptiles and birds, such as the North Island snipe (Coenocorypha barrierensis), which only survived into the European era on this island and was formerly distributed across the entirety of the North Island, North Island saddleback (Philesturnus rufusater), grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi), Cook's petrel (Pterodroma cookii) and black petrel (Proeellaria parkinsoni).[6] In the July 1977 to 23 June 1980 period, eradication was completed by a dedicated team. 151 cats were killed using traps and poison.[6]


Introduced wasps. German, Common, Asian Paper, and Tasmanian paper wasps are all present on the island, in some years wasps are in plague numbers.


Prior to 1995 very little attention was paid to weed species on the island. The rangers garden had been planted in exotics and bird and wind dispersed colonisers were spreading fast. In 1996 a weed control programme based in the successful work on The Kermadecs was implemented with teams of weeders grid searching the island. The main target species being Climbing Asparagus, Mexican Devil and Mist Flower.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, Part 2". Inset to The New Zealand Herald. 3 March 2010. p. 15.
  2. ^ "Islands and bays renamed in Maori". 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011. Te Hauturu-o-Toi
  3. ^ "Chronology of events" (PDF). Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "New Zealand Energy Quarterly, March 2010" (PDF). 16 June 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  5. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Rahui Te Kiri Tenetahi with her daughter". Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Veitch, C. R. (2001). "The eradication of feral cats (Felis catus) from Little Barrier Island, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 28: 1–12. doi:10.1080/03014223.2001.9518252.
  7. ^ a b "Features: Little Barrier Island Nature Reserve (Hauturu-o-Toi)". Department of Conservation (New Zealand). Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  8. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Rahui Te Kiri Tenetahi with her daughter". Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  9. ^ a b c W. Hayward, Bruce (1982). "Prehistoric archaeological sites on Little Barrier Island, New Zealand" (PDF). New Zealand Geological Survey. pp. 73–75. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  10. ^ Lindsay, Jan M.; Tim J. Worthington; Ian E. M. Smith; Philippa M. Black (June 1999). "Geology, petrology, and petrogenesis of Little Barrier Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. 42 (2): 155–168. doi:10.1080/00288306.1999.9514837.
  11. ^ "Topo50 map AY33 – Hauturu / Little Barrier Island". Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Map of Hauturu Little Barrier Island" (Topo Map). Rimutaka Forest Park Trust.
  13. ^ "Important Bird Areas: Little Barrier Island". Birdlife International. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  14. ^ "New Zealand Storm-petrel discovered breeding 50 km from Auckland City". BirdLife International. 25 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  15. ^ "Four kākāpō make epic journey to Hauturu/Little Barrier Island". New Zealand Department of Conservation. 2017-07-11. Retrieved 2017-09-12.
  16. ^ "Blue Whales". Archived from the original on 12 March 2011.
  17. ^ "Newsletter, Issue 26th November 2011" (PDF). Hauturu, Little Barrier Island Supports Trust. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Rare whale sighting off Auckland coast".
  19. ^ Tony and Jenny Enderby (2010-03-02). "New Zealand marine life".

External links

175th meridian east

The meridian 175° east of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.

The 175th meridian east forms a great circle with the 5th meridian west.

Auckland Region

The Auckland Region (Māori: Tāmaki-makau-rau) is one of the sixteen regions of New Zealand, named for the city of Auckland, the country's largest urban area. The region encompasses the Auckland metropolitan area, smaller towns, rural areas, and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Containing 35 percent of the nation's residents, it has by far the largest population and economy of any region of New Zealand, but the second-smallest land area.

On 1 November 2010, the Auckland Region became a unitary authority controlled by the Auckland Council, replacing the previous regional council and seven local councils. In the process, an area in its southeastern corner was transferred to the neighbouring Waikato Region. The name "Auckland Region" remains present in casual usage.

Austral snipe

The austral snipes, also known as the New Zealand snipes or tutukiwi, are a genus, Coenocorypha, of tiny birds in the sandpiper family, which are now only found on New Zealand's outlying islands. There are currently three living species and six known extinct species, with the Subantarctic snipe having three subspecies, including the Campbell Island snipe discovered as recently as 1997. The genus was once distributed from Fiji, New Caledonia and Norfolk Island, across New Zealand and southwards into New Zealand's subantarctic islands, but predation by introduced species, especially rats, has drastically reduced their range.

Black petrel

The black petrel (Procellaria parkinsoni), also called the Parkinson's petrel, is a large, black petrel, the smallest of the Procellaria. The species is an endemic breeder of New Zealand, breeding only on Great Barrier Island and Little Barrier Island, off the North Island. At sea it disperses as far as Australia and Ecuador.

Cradock Channel

The Cradock Channel is one of three channels connecting the Hauraki Gulf with the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It is the central channel, lying between Great Barrier Island to the east and Little Barrier Island to the west.

The other two channels are the Jellicoe Channel and the Colville Channel.

Deinacrida heteracantha

Deinacrida heteracantha, also known as the Little Barrier giant weta or wetapunga (Maori: wētāpunga), is a weta in the order Orthoptera and family Anostostomatidae. It is endemic to New Zealand, where it survived only on Little Barrier Island, although it has been translocated to some other predator-free island conservation areas. This very large flightless weta mainly feeds at night, but is also active during the day, when it can be found above ground in vegetation. It has been classified as vulnerable by the IUCN due to ongoing population declines and restricted distribution.

Giant weta

Giant weta are several species of weta in the genus Deinacrida of the family Anostostomatidae. Giant weta are endemic to New Zealand and are examples of island gigantism.

There are eleven species of giant weta, most of which are larger than other weta, despite the latter also being large by insect standards. Large species can be up to 10 cm (4 in), not inclusive of legs and antennae, with body mass usually no more than 35 g. One captive female reached a mass of about 70 g (2.5 oz.), making it one of the heaviest documented insects in the world and heavier than a sparrow. This is, however, abnormal, as this individual was unmated and retained an abnormal number of eggs. The largest species of giant weta is the Little Barrier Island giant weta, also known as the wetapunga. One example reported in 2011 weighed 71 g.Giant weta tend to be less social and more passive than other weta. Their genus name, Deinacrida, means "terrible grasshopper", from the Greek word δεινός (deinos, meaning "terrible", "potent", or "fearfully great"), in the same way dinosaur means "terrible lizard". They are found primarily on New Zealand offshore islands, having been almost exterminated on the mainland islands by introduced mammalian pests.

Goat Island (Auckland)

Goat Island or Te Hāwere-a-Maki is a tiny island (approximately 1 hectare or 2.5 acres) in New Zealand located close to the North Island coast, north of Auckland, northeast of Warkworth, and directly west of Little Barrier Island. It is within Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve, New Zealand's first marine reserve.

The island is spiritually significant to the local Māori tribe, Ngāti Manuhiri, because their ancestral waka (canoe), Moe Karaka, is said to have landed nearby.As well as being in a marine reserve, Goat Island is a scenic reserve. The University of Auckland has a research facility at Goat Island known as the Leigh Marine Laboratory headed by Professor John Montgomery. This will form the base for the University’s new South Pacific Centre for Marine Science (SPCMS). Prime Minister Helen Clark launched the national and international campaign to raise funds for the SPCMS at Leigh on 21 June 2008.

Takangaroa is another island in the same area which used to be known as Goat Island.

Hauraki Gulf

The Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana is a coastal feature of the North Island of New Zealand. It has an area of 4000 km², and lies between, in anticlockwise order, the Auckland Region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula, and Great Barrier Island. Most of the gulf is part of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Hauraki is Māori for north wind. In 2014, the gulf was officially named Hauraki Gulf / Tīkapa Moana.

Jellicoe Channel

The Jellicoe Channel is one of three channels connecting the Hauraki Gulf with the Pacific Ocean to the northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. It is the westernmost channel, lying between Cape Rodney on the North Auckland Peninsula and Little Barrier Island.

The other two channels are the Cradock Channel and the Colville Channel.

List of islands of New Zealand

The following is a list of islands of New Zealand. New Zealand consists of a large number of islands, estimated around six hundred, mainly remnants of a larger land mass now beneath the sea.

Each of the two larger main islands, where most of the population lives, has two official names, in English and in the Māori language. They are the North Island or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island or Te Waipounamu. Various Māori iwi sometimes use different names, with some preferring to call the South Island Te Waka o Aoraki. The islands are separated by the Cook Strait. The South Island is sometimes informally referred to as the "mainland", especially by its residents, because it is somewhat larger, albeit with a smaller population. However, in general practice, the "mainland" refers to the North Island and South Island collectively, in contrast with the smaller offshore islands.

Stewart Island or Rakiura, in the south, is the largest of the smaller islands, although Waiheke Island in the urban Auckland region has the largest population of the smaller islands.

Mecodema aoteanoho

Mecodema aoteanoho is a species of ground beetle, the only such beetle endemic to Great Barrier Island (Aotea), Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand. All other known species are found on the mainland. Mecodema aoteanoho is a sister species to M. haunoho (Little Barrier Island) and is closely related to the Coromandel (mainland) species, M. atrox.

Mecodema haunoho

Mecodema haunoho is the only ground beetle (Carabidae) species that is endemic to Little Barrier Island (Haunoho), all other species are found on the mainland. It is sister taxa to M. aoteanoho (Great Barrier Island) and closely related to species found in Bream Head, Northland, New Zealand.

New Zealand storm petrel

The New Zealand storm petrel (Fregetta maoriana) is a small seabird of the family Oceanitidae. Thought to be extinct since 1850, a series of sightings from 2003 to the present indicate the presence of a previously unknown colony. As of 2010 it is ranked on the IUCN Red List as critically endangered.

North Island brown kiwi

The North Island brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli; Apteryx australis or Apteryx bulleri as before 2000, still used in some sources), is a species of kiwi that is widespread in the northern two-thirds of the North Island of New Zealand and, with about 35,000 remaining, is the most common kiwi. This bird holds the world record for laying the largest eggs relative to its body size.

North Island snipe

The North Island snipe (Coenocorypha barrierensis), also known as the little barrier snipe or tutukiwi, is an extinct species of bird in the sandpiper family, Scolopacidae, that was endemic to New Zealand.

Rodney District

Rodney District was a local government area in the northernmost part of New Zealand's Auckland Region from 1989 to 2010. It included Kawau Island. It was created from the amalgamation of Helensville Borough and Rodney County in 1989. The seat of Rodney District Council was at Orewa. Rodney District and Rodney County each took their names from Cape Rodney (opposite Little Barrier Island), which Captain James Cook named on 24 November 1769 after Admiral Sir George Brydges Rodney.Auckland Council has governed the area since 1 November 2010. The Rodney ward of the Auckland Region now covers much of the land area, but not the Hibiscus Coast or the former council seat of Orewa, which are in the Albany ward.

The district was, in its last period, led by mayor Penny Webster and 12 councillors.

Spenceriella gigantea

Anisochaeta gigantea (formerly Spenceriella gigantea or Celeriella gigantea), commonly called the North Auckland worm, is a rare giant annelid of the family Megascolecidae, endemic to New Zealand.

The North Auckland worm is New Zealand's largest, reaching 1.4 m long, and 11 mm in diameter. Its burrows are up to 20 mm in diameter, and reach a depth of 3.5 m.The type locality is on Little Barrier Island on a plateau 200 metres above sea level in forest subsoil. Under both the New Zealand Threat Classification System and IUCN Redlist it is classed a "Data Deficient".


The stitchbird or hihi (Notiomystis cincta) is a rare honeyeater-like bird endemic to the North Island and adjacent offshore islands of New Zealand. It became extirpated everywhere except Little Barrier Island but has been reintroduced to three other island sanctuaries and two locations on the North Island mainland. Its evolutionary relationships have long puzzled ornithologists, but it is now classed as the only member of its own family, the Notiomystidae.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.