Rakitū Island declared latest predator free island

 Rakitū Island declared latest predator free island

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today declared Rakitū Island, off the coast of Aotea/Great Barrier Island, predator free.

“I’m delighted to announce that with rats now gone, Rakitū is officially predator free. This is a major milestone because Rakitū is the last DOC administered island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park to be made pest-free,” said Eugenie Sage.  

“Rakitū will now join more than 40 existing pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, including Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe, Tiritiri Matangi and Hauturu/ Little Barrier Island. These pest-free islands provide a safe haven for threatened native wildlife including takahē, kākāpō, kokako, kiwi, geckos, skinks, bats, wetāpunga and tuatara.

“Rakitū represents another step towards a Predator Free Aotearoa New Zealand. The recovery of breeding populations of threatened species on these taonga offshore islands, provides an invaluable lesson in how we might restore native plants and wildlife on mainland sites once introduced pests have been removed,” said Eugenie Sage.

Eugenie Sage travelled to Aotea/Great Barrier Island to meet with members of local iwi, Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea and Department of Conservation (DOC) staff, to make the announcement.

The operation to remove rats from Rakitū island, off the east coast of Aotea/Great Barrier Island, was a partnership between Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aotea and DOC and was carried out during the winter months of 2018.  A check of the island with conservation dogs last week proved that rats had been eliminated.

Rakitū, a 330 hectare island, sits on a native seabird highway that spans a chain of pest-free islands from the Poor Knights Islands, north of Whangarei, to the Mercury Islands, south of Aotea/Great Barrier Island.

Now that Rakitū is rat free, there is an opportunity to begin developing a restoration programme for the island which had been farmed for more than a century.


Media contact: Rick Zwaan 021 845 587 rick.zwaan@parliament.govt.nz

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