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E haere kia kite i ngā motu o Tīkapa Moana

Visiting the Hauraki Gulf islands

The Hauraki Gulf islands provide a safe habitat for some of our most endangered animals and plants. Weeds and pests pose a threat to these species.

To protect our unique islands, the Regional Pest Management Plan – Islands section (PDF, 4.54 MB) and the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice 2020 (PDF, 1.38 MB) restrict activities that can spread pests to islands.

We need visitors to check their belongings and gear to prevent accidentally taking weeds or pests to the islands. Dirt transported on camping and tramping gear, including dirty footwear, may carry deadly kauri dieback disease or harbour weed seed and pests.

How to pack

Pack kai into sealed containers to keep pests out. Don't use open bags or supermarket bags.

If you're camping, unpack and check your tents and bedding thoroughly. They are attractive and ideal for pest animals. Keep sleeping bags in separate zipped-up bags.

Check your gear for pests

Clean dirty gear or footwear to remove all dirt and seeds.

Check all gear for pests such as mice, rats, ants, plague skinks and weeds. It's an offence to move any of these pests in the Hauraki Gulf – see a list of pests on the pest search.

Check your vessel for pests

If you're taking your own boat or kayak, inspect it carefully before you leave. Consider potential 'shelters' like open lockers and dinghies. Look for signs of rodents, like droppings or gnawed wiring.

While you are checking your boat, look underneath at the hull to make sure no marine pests have attached themselves.

Read our guide on clean boating for more information.

Pest seaweed at Aotea Great Barrier Island

We are working with Biosecurity New Zealand in response to the discovery of a non-native pest seaweed in some Great Barrier Island harbours.

If you’re planning a trip to Aotea Great Barrier Island, there are rules from Biosecurity New Zealand to avoid spreading this pest.

Control pests

You can keep fresh rodent bait or set traps on your vessel.

Place rat guards on mooring ropes or anchor chains to prevent rats from coming on board.

Destroy any rats, mice, ants or skinks found in your gear or on your vessel correctly and humanely. Don't throw rats or mice overboard alive.

If you see any pests on pest-free islands, call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or contact us on 09 301 0101.

Do the right thing with pets

Many of our offshore islands are havens for native birds and lizards. Cats, dogs and other pets can easily cause harm to native wildlife in these sanctuaries.

In addition, it is an offence to take turtles and exotic parrots to offshore islands, especially Aotea / Great Barrier – see a list of animal pests on the pest search.

If you’re visiting the Hauraki Gulf, the safest choice is to leave your pet at home.

If you must take your pet cat or dog on holiday with you, obey all signage – many islands are free of cats and dogs and it is an offence to take pets onto or near these islands.

Cats that go on holiday with you around the Hauraki Gulf need to be microchipped so they can be returned to you if lost.

Do the right thing with plants

Pests such as plague skinks, argentine ants and kauri dieback love to hitch a ride on pot plants.

If you’re planning to do some planting on an island, ideally find plants that were grown on-island.

If you do have to bring plants from off-island, make sure they’ve been sourced from a supplier who is accredited with the Plant Production Biosecurity Scheme (PPBS) to reduce the risk of hitchhiker pests. Alternatively, you can bare root your plants, dunk them in water thoroughly, and repot them with completely new potting mix 24 hours before you go.

Biosecurity Pest Free Warrant system for commercial operators

The Regional Pest Management Plan requires all commercial vessel and tourism operators to obtain and maintain a Pest Free Warrant (PFW) that assesses:

  • how well you apply biosecurity measures
  • how you communicate biosecurity best practice to your customers.

Pest Free Warrants are free and we'll be providing advice and support to businesses to phase-in their warrants between 2021-2024.

To find out more, see Apply for a Pest Free Warrant.

Pest Free Warrant logo

Using ferries and charter boats

Make sure you travel on a Pest Free Warranted boat and look for the official logo.

These operators know how to keep our islands pest free and havens for our indigenous biodiversity.

Transporting items to the islands

Some transported goods such as plants, rubble or rocks have a higher chance of moving pests. If you are moving a building, you will need to have an inspection to ensure that no pests are being transported.

Find out how you can safely transport items to the Hauraki Gulf islands.

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