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 conservationists.

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 conservation.
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 lives."
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 untapped potential.
"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."

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 conservation.
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 lives."
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 untapped potential.
"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 Plan here.

To see a short documentary about the Auckland Zoo and Rotoroa Island Trust partnership, please visit The Making of an Island Sanctuary.

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 information carefully.

WHAT SPECIES ARE AT HOME ON ROTOROA ISLAND?

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 Conservation.

Tieke (Saddleback)

Popokotea (Whitehead)

Takahē
The first breeding pair of takahē were released in May 2015. 

Reptiles
Two types of lizards have been released on Rotoroa Island: shore and moko skinks.

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.

Kiwi
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

Gannet
A decoy 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 cam

Grey Faced Petrel burrows and broadcast system

White-Fronted Tern decoys