Tiritiri Matangi is an island in the Hauraki Gulf. Tiritiri Matangi, meaning "tossed by the wind", is an open scientific reserve managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and supporters. Open sanctuary status allows up to 170 ferry passengers daily from Wednesday to Sunday. You can also stay on the island overnight in the bunkhouse. We went for the day. On arrival shoes and bags need to be checked for seeds and pests. There are no rats or hedgehogs on the island and planting is strictly controlled.
First time visitors are taken on a guided walk over beach, forest and grasslands to view the abundant birdlife in the area. Birds rarely found in other parts of NZ such as the stitchbird, brown teal, takahe, saddleback, kakariki and whitehead are so abundant here that some are being moved to other parts of NZ. If you stay overnight you might also see the little blue penguin( the world's smallest penguin) and the little spotted kiwi.
At the feeding stations (water and sugar) the nectar drinking birds like the bellbird and stitchbirds cluster and sing.
Tiritiri was settled by the Kawerau tribe who named the pa Tiritiri Matangi, parts of the
island still have the remains of building sites and kumara storage pits. Europeans arrived in the 1850s and Tiritiri was continuously farmed until the 1970s. The replanting programme began on Tiritiri in 1984, and it's success is thanks to thousands of volunteers. The planting programme was completed in 1994 with over 250 000 trees planted.
Pohutukawa was the main tree planted initially. This fast growing tree forms a canopy for other slower growing trees, shading out the thick grass, and providing shelter from the exposed conditions. Once the pohutukawa cover had been established, taraire, kohekohe, puriri and many other trees were plated in it's shade. The droppings of seed eating birds help disperse seed and contribute to the regrowth of the forest.
As well as rare birds, the tuatara lizard was reintroduced. Duvaucel's gecko and Shore skink were translocated in 2006.
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