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Tiritiri Matangi Island sits slightly north of Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf, and is a dedicated reserve protecting and rejuvenating New Zealand's endemic flora and fauna.
Inhabited by humans since the Maori first arrived in what is now New Zealand, the original ancient forest had been cut down and replaced by farm land, but over a period of around 10 years in the 80s and 90s, volunteers planted between 250,000 to 300,000 trees to bring 60% of the island back to its former glory.
Endemic birds and other animals were brought and released to re-populate the predator free environment on the island, and to help vitally rejuvenate endangered populations.
The island still keeps its original name given to it by the Maori, which means ‘buffeted by the wind’ or ‘wind blowing about’, probably due to its location in the Hauraki Gulf.
Getting there is simple, a ferry from downtown Auckland via the Gulf Harbour (about an hour's drive north) drops you off on the island in the morning and picks up again mid/late afternoon.
There are methods in place to keep out rats and other predators, such as bag checks (must be sealed), cleaning shoes of seeds and mud, and keeping food in sealed containers (nothing too sinister!) to ensure the predator free status of the island.
There are also no catering facilities on the island so some sandwiches could be a good idea!