Skip to main content

E haere kia kite i ngā motu o Tīkapa Moana

Visiting the Hauraki Gulf islands

What to keep in mind when visiting Hauraki Gulf Islands.

Protecting our 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 and the Hauraki Gulf Controlled Area Notice 2020 restrict activities that can spread pests to islands.

​Get a copy of the documents

Visitors must 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. Do not use open bags or supermarket bags.

If you are 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 is an offence to move any of these pests in the Hauraki Gulf.

See a list of pests on Pest Search.

Check your vessel for pests

If you are 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 - exotic caulerpa

The pest seaweed, exotic caulerpa, has been found off Aotea / Great Barrier Island, Waiheke Island and Kawau Island.

It is important you:

  • report sightings
  • keep your boat and gear clean
  • know the restrictions on anchoring, movement of vessels and fishing in the area.

For more information, see the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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. Do not 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 Pest Search.

If you are 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 are 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 will provide 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.

For a full list of Pest Free Warrant holders,  see the Department of Conservation.

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.

 Related topics



What we do to help the environment we do to help the environmentFind out what Auckland Council does to help the environment.aspxEnvironment consultation
Marine and freshwater environments and freshwater environmentsFind out how you can help look after our marine and freshwater environments. Plus information on the care and maintenance of septic tanks.aspxWater quality
Apply for a Pest Free Warrant for a Pest Free WarrantFind out the benefits of obtaining a Pest Free Warrant and how you can apply for one.aspxEnvironment
Hauraki Gulf Forum (HGF) Gulf Forum (HGF)The Hauraki Gulf Forum promotes and facilitates integrated management and the protection and enhancement of the Hauraki Gulf.aspxEnvironment consultation Hauraki Gulf Forum
Transporting items to the Hauraki Gulf islands items to the Hauraki Gulf islandsFind out how you can responsibly transport items to protect the Hauraki Gulf islands from pests.aspxEnvironment
Regional Pest Management Plan (RPMP) Pest Management Plan (RPMP)Information about Auckland Council's Regional Pest Management Plan, setting our priorities for managing animal and plant pests.aspxStrategies