The Motutapu Restoration Trust (MRT) was formed in 1993 to support the Motutapu Restoration Project in consultation with other interested groups. Together with Rangitoto, Motutapu represented an unrivalled opportunity for ecological restoration, close to a metropolitan centre. It contributes significantly to rare and threatened species’ survival in New Zealand.
MRT has played an active role in ecological restoration on Motutapu particularly through its engagement of volunteers through regular volunteer days. MRT’s volunteer activities primarily focus on ecological restoration (nursery work, planting and weeding). It has raised significant funding to enable a range of restoration work including historic heritage restoration. The Trust holds a concession to operate the Reid Homestead as a visitor centre and was responsible for the restoration of the Homestead and the Home Bay wharf in the 2000s.
It's been a massive success story and we're proud of the volunteer culture that the restoration has been built upon.
The island was declared mammalian pest-free in 2011, although possums and wallabies were removed during the 1990s.
Between 1993 and 2019, approximately 500,000trees have been planted on the island. There is now a forest that is almost canopy level. Volunteer work focuses on extending the planted area with seedlings raised in the on-island nursery as well as maintaining the existing forest, protecting it from pest plants.
In recent years, Motutapu has also been a working sheep and cattle farm.
Now, alongside the farm, restored habitats on the island are enabling native wildlife, including endangered species, to thrive in this safe haven free from animal and plant pests. The island is now a safe home for a breeding population of translocated kiwi and takahē – some of New Zealand’s rarest, flightless birds, as well as pōpokatea (whitehead), tūturuatu (shoreplover), kārāriki (red crowned parakeet), tīeke (saddleback) and the Duvaucel gecko.
The Motutapu Restoration Trust’s work provides opportunities for people of all ages to be actively involved in conservation and to 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, who have mana whenua over Motutapu.
Our vision is to restore the natural and cultural landscapes of Motutapu. The natural landscape is 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, farmers and the military.
We are in the process of:
We also have Guardians who have been deeply involved in founding the Trust and getting it to where it is today: