About Motutapu Restoration Trust

The Motutapu project started in 1993 in consultation with other interested groups. Together with Rangitoto, Motutapu represented an unrivalled opportunity for ecological restoration close to a metropolitan center which could contribute significantly to threatened species’ survival in New Zealand.

It's been a massive volunteer success story and we're proud of that volunteer culture that the restoration has been built on.

The island was declared mammalian pest-free in 2011, although possums and wallabies were removed during the nineties. Under the Motutapu Restoration Plan, over 500,000 trees have been planted on the island, a forest that is almost canopy level. Rare and endangered species, as well as unthreatened endemic species, are thriving in the pest-free habitat. The island is now a safe home for a small breeding population of translocated Kiwi and Takahe – some of New Zealand’s rarest, flightless birds.

The Motutapu Restoration Trust’s work provides opportunities for people of all ages to engage in and be actively involved in conservation and to better understand and appreciate heritage values through the restoration of Motutapu.

The Trust's planning is approved by DOC in association with Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, the Island's Iwi.

Our vision and aims

Breathing New Life into an Ancient Landform

Our vision is to restore the natural and cultural landscapes of Motutapu. The natural landscape similar to that which existed on Motutapu before the Rangitoto eruption around 600 years ago. The cultural landscape was shaped by early Maori, early European settlers, farming and the military.

We are in the process of:

  • Restoring native ecosystems
  • Replanting several hundred hectares in native forest
  • Collecting and propagating seeds from eco-sourced plant stock
  • Protecting the forest plantings from plant pests
  • Re-introducing threatened species of plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates
  • Providing opportunities for volunteers to experience hands-on conservation
  • Encouraging links with the wider Auckland community
  • Protecting and conserving the WWII gun emplacements and military sites
  • Developing the restored Reid Homestead as an interpretative visitor center
  • Protecting and interpreting the archaeological sites on the island
  • Facilitating life-long learning for all ages

Over its recent years, Motutapu has been a working farm of sheep and cattle.

Exotic birds such as blackbird, chaffinch, mallard duck, goldfinch, greenfinch, magpie, myna, rosella, skylark, sparrow, starling, thrush, turkey, yellow hammer have all been observed on Motutapu.

Restored habitats on the island are already enabling native wildlife, including endangered species, to thrive in this safe haven free from animal and plant pests. alongside the ecological restoration, the island's rich archaeological landscapes are being enhanced so that the stories of centuries of human occupation can be enjoyed by all.

who we are

Our Trustees

Patrick Conor

Chair of the Trust

Bridget Winstone

Deputy Chair, Volunteer Coordinator

Hon. Chris Fletcher

Founding Trustee, Patron

Mary Flaws

Trustee, Reid Homestead Coordinator

Brett Butland

Trustee, fmrly Chair 2013-2021

Jane Moore

Trustee, Donors

Kit Parkinson

Trustee, Chair of Finance Committee

Alastair Bell

who we are


We also have Guardians who have been deeply involved in founding the Trust and getting it to where it is today:

  • Graeme Campbell
  • Alison Henry
  • Belinda Vernon
  • Russell Greenwood

We acknowledge some changes in 2021. Brett Butland retired as Chair and Trustee Patrick Conor took on the role. Rick Braddock stood down after long serving as Deputy Chair and Trustee Biddy Winstone stepped up to Deputy. We also acknowledge Iain MacKenzie, a long serving Trustee of the Trust. Iain died recently.

MRT's activities include planting a native forest, restoring wetlands as well as historic site preservation, restoration and interpretation, walking tracks and visitor centre. The restoration programme, through hands-on involvement, offers an excellent opportunity for our visitors to experience and for our volunteers to contribute to conservation. We salute our many volunteers who generously give of their time on the island.

Through its activities, the Trust provides opportunities to New Zealanders and overseas visitors for lifelong conservation learning.