CREATING A WILDLIFE SANCTUARY ON ROTOROA ISLAND
The Rotoroa Island Trust is working closely with Auckland Zoo and the Department of Conservation to develop a unique wildlife sanctuary.
Closed to the public for nearly 100 years, Rotoroa Island was
once a place of sanctuary for people recovering from alcohol or
drug addiction. Today, the Rotoroa Island Trust is working with
Auckland Zoo and the Department of Conservation to continue this
legacy of sanctuary and renewal. These partnerships have worked to
populate Rotoroa Island with endangered species that require some
level of human intervention to survive. The aim is demonstrate the
practice of conservation itself, by sharing and demonstrating the
wildlife management techniques and tools used by
A number of endangered animals have already been released on
Rotoroa Island, including takahē, tieke (saddleback), kiwi, skinks
and pateke (brown teal).
A hands-on schools programme has
been established with the aim of encouraging students to
participate in conservation science. "We hope to see a whole
generation of kids grow up with a sense of ownership in the renewal
of Rotoroa Island as a wildlife sanctuary," says director of
Auckland Zoo, Jonathan Wilcken.
Visit Auckland Zoo's website to find out more about
conservation science field trips to Rotoroa Island.
CONNECTING PEOPLE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
"Unique and groundbreaking" is how director of Auckland Zoo,
Jonathan Wilcken, sees Rotoroa Island and the Trust's approach to
Since the Trust and Auckland Zoo signed a partnership agreement in
2012, a significant amount of work has been done to cement what the
Trust and zoo see as a pioneering, internationally significant
conservation project. It's not just about re-populating an island
sanctuary with endangered native species; it's about providing kiwi
kids with the rare opportunity to experience wildlife management
techniques first hand.
"The kids experiencing Rotoroa Island are at an age where memories
stick," says Jonathan. "Rotoroa is about sparking an interest in
wildlife and giving kids the opportunity to get out into the Gulf.
We'd like to imagine that experiencing Rotoroa might be the tipping
point that influences kids' behaviour for the rest of their
The aim of the partnership is to bring people and wildlife
together, and underpinning this philosophy are best-practice
techniques around intensively managing wildlife. And thanks to the
recent development of Rotoroa Island, the team at Auckland Zoo have
been able to galvanise an entire community that was previously just
"We'd been doing this kind of work for a number of years," says
Jonathan, "but we hadn't - until the opportunity with Rotoroa -
found the forum to do so in a way that brings the community along
with us, and that gets school groups involved."
Rotoroa Island isn't just about ecological restoration, he says.
"It's about trying to reforge the relationship between people and
the natural environment-finding new ways to make people feel part
of, and responsible for, maintaining a natural environment that is
diverse and healthy."
Check out the digital version of the Auckland Zoo Rotoroa Island Wildlife Management
To see a short documentary about the Auckland Zoo and Rotoroa
Island Trust partnership, please visit The Making of an
KEEP ROTOROA ISLAND PEST FREE
Rotoroa Island is free of pests and is committed to remaining
pest-free in order to develop a thriving wildlife sanctuary for
endangered New Zealand animals.
We need your help to ensure the safety of animals on Rotoroa
Island by keeping the island pest-free. So before you visit the
beautiful Rotoroa Island wildlife sanctuary, please read our biosecurity
WHAT SPECIES ARE AT HOME ON ROTOROA
Over the next few years, up to 15 species of
endangered native animals will be released on Rotoroa Island
through a partnership with Auckland Zoo and the Department of
The first breeding pair of takahē were released in May
Two types of lizards have been released on Rotoroa
Island: shore and moko
Pāteke (brown teal)
Pāteke are among New
Zealand's most endangered birds, so we're so privileged to have
welcomed four breeding pairs to the island.
Rotoroa Island is helping grow little kiwi into big kiwi, thanks to a
partnership between Auckland Zoo and the volunteer conservation
group Thames Coast Kiwi Care; to date more than 30 kiwi chicks have
been released on Rotoroa Island
Australasian gannet colony has been established on Rotoroa
Island's northern coastline with the aim of establishing a real
colony in the Hauraki Gulf. We now have a live streaming gannet
Grey Faced Petrel burrows and broadcast
White-Fronted Tern decoys