Tiritiri Matangi Island is about 2 miles out to sea
from the end of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, on which Gulf
Harbour is located, and about 5 miles from Gulf Harbour by boat.
The island is a world renowned bird sanctuary. It was replanted with around
300,000 native trees and all introduced predators eradicated, so no mice, rats,
stoats, cats, dogs. New Zealand had no land
predators so some birds had no reason to fly and lived on the
ground. With the introduction of predators by man, including man, those birds
didn't last long. Having eradicated the predators from Tiritiri
Matangi, 12 of New Zealand's endangered birds have been re-introduced and can be
seen and heard, together with less rare birds, in their natural
habitat. The island can only be visited 5 days a week and there's only one
boat a day, holding up to 170 people. Once on the island, local
guides take groups of 6 along the many tracks around and
across the island and through the forests. In the afternoon we were free
to wander wherever we liked. We didn't see all the birds there, but
quite a few, and, for the bird watchers, they included: Stitchbird, Saddleback,
Kakariki, Whitehead, North Island Robin, Brown Teal, Bellbird, Pukeko,
Takahe, Variable Oystercatcher, Tui, Paradise Shellduck, Fantail and Brown
Quail, a few of which allowed their photographs to be taken.
The fast way to get to Tiritiri
Tui - feeding at one of the few nectar
stations that they have on the island. Tui are common
A Bellbird, and .....
One of several Takahes on the island. They are one
of the rarest birds in the world and were thought to
be extinct until a small group were discovered in a remote spot in the South Island.
They're about the
size of a small turkey.
A young Takahe.
A Pukeko. From the same family as the Takahe, but
not at all rare; they can be seen all over New
They're about the size of a skinny
A Takahe and Pukeko side by
Built in 1864, the Tiritiri Lighthouse is one of
the oldest in New Zealand and is still operational.
A last look back as we head back to the wharf and
the boat back to Gulf Harbour.