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 centre which could contribute significantly to threatened species’ survival in New Zealand.

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.

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 shaped by early Maori, early 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 ecosourced plant stock
  • Protecting the growing volunteer forest 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 centre
  • Protecting and interpreting the archaeological sites on the island
  • Facilitating life-long learning for all ages

As Motutapu is a working farm, sheep and cattle can be seen in varying numbers on the island throughout the year.

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.

who we are

Our Trustees

Brett Butland


Rick Braddock

Deputy Chair

Hon. Chris Fletcher

Founding Trustee, Patron

Kit Parkinson

Chair of Finance Committee

Mary Flaws

Reid Homestead Coordinator

Bridget Winstone

Volunteer Coordinator

Alastair Bell

Chair of Engagement Committee

Iain MacKenzie


Jane Moore


Patrick Conor

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

Our above dedicated group of individuals are committed to restoring the cultural and natural landscapes of Motutapu. Restored habitats on the island are already enabling native wildlife, including endangered species, to thrive in our safe haven free from animal and plant pests. Alongside the ecological restoration, the island’s rich archaeological and historic landscapes are being enhanced so that the stories of centuries of human occupation can be enjoyed by all.

Our 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.