ECOLOGY VISION Aotea / great barrier island
The Ecology Vision reflects the aspirations of the Aotea, Great Barrier Island community for the enhancement and management of the island’s natural environment, encapsulating conservation and protection from ridge to reef. The Ecology Vision aims to inspire, support and facilitate community led ecological restoration, to build on and /or establish new and innovative projects and to drive and encourage community participation in restoration.
By working in collaboration with the community of Aotea, Great Barrier Island Local Board, Auckland Council, Department of Conservation, iwi, sanctuaries, trusts, and many other organisations, together, we are protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of Aotea, Great Barrier Island.
Aotea, Great Barrier Island is situated 100 km northeast of Auckland. It was the first island in the world to receive International Dark Sky Sanctuary status. It is the sixth largest island in New Zealand, at 285 square km and nearly 45km long, (28,000 hectares) and has a permanent population of approximately 1000 people. Of that The Aotea Conservation Park spreads over more than 12,000 hectares. Aotea, Great Barrier Island is the ancestral home of Ngati Rehua-Ngatiwai ki Aotea who are the mana whenua; tangata whenua and people of the land.
Aotea, Great Barrier Island has diverse ecological habitats, including freshwater ecosystems, wetlands, estuaries, remnant kauri forest, fiord-like inner harbours and springs. It is a haven for many rare and threatened native species such as pateke (brown teal), Takoketai (black petrel), spotless crake, fern bird, Galaxiid fish, koura (freshwater crayfish). With large areas of regenerating forest, the island is considered a stronghold for the North Island Kaka and Kereru (wood pigeon). There are over 13 species of lizard, including the rarest skink in the region – the chevron skink.
We are lucky that we don’t have some of the pest animals present elsewhere in New Zealand. There are currently no possums, mustelids (i.e. stoats, ferrets or weasels), hedgehogs, Norway rats, goats, deer, wallabies and other such pests. However, we do have other pest animals which we trap for; Ship rat, Kiore rat, Rabbit and Feral cat. Pest animals such as rats and cats threaten the survival of many native species such as wētā, snails, lizards and birds. They eat almost anything, including our native species and their food sources. In order to protect our native species from predation, to see and hear them flourish and so that future generations also get to enjoy and experience them, we must all work together to protect, enhance and restore.