More info He pārongo atu anōVisit website
Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier) Island is the country’s oldest nature reserve, protected for over 125 years. Home to a flourishing ecosystem of endangered birds, reptiles, bats, and native flora, the island is an ancient refuge which has saved wildlife from extinction. To continue this legacy, visitors must volunteer and have a DOC-issued permit. If you’re fit and healthy, apply to join backcountry weeding season which runs throughout November and December. From February to March, general maintenance volunteers help with painting and building, living in the well-equipped bunkhouse for around 17 – 18 days. The Hauturu Supporters Trust also organises several weekend trips annually.
Hauturu’s human history dates back to the 12th century, with the arrival of ancestor Toi Te Huatahi. Explore the traces of early Māori settlements; clearways where canoes once landed, collapsed walls which bordered gardens of taro and kumara, and terraces repopulated by native trees.
This densely forested, mountainous world is a living relic of wild New Zealand. Wander through native bush where over 1,700 unique plant species flourish and tuatara scuttle across the forest floor. Meander along the Hamilton track or stroll along the coast where pebbled beaches meet the Pacific and seabirds soar.
At dusk, look out for New Zealand’s only native land mammals, the pekapeka (New Zealand long-tailed bat), beginning their hunt for insects in seeming silence – their calls are in frequencies too high for human ears. Joining them in night flight, the endemic oī (grey faced petrels) sings its high-pitched, whistling tune as the sun sets for another day.
Location Te wāhi
Hauturu Little Barrier IslandPlan your route
Getting there Te huarahi ki reira
Apply to volunteer with the Department of Conservation (DOC) or the Hauturu Supporters Trust. If selected, they’ll help organise your permit, quarantining, and boat transport to and from the island.
Local tip He tīwhiri mō te rohe
There are no shops on the island. If your application is successful, you’ll be provided with a full equipment list including food and essential supplies.