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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 food 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 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.

If you are travelling on a commercial vessel, e.g. a public ferry or chartered boat, make sure it is Pest Free Warranted – look for the logo displayed below. These operators already know what to do to keep these islands pest free and havens for our indigenous biodiversity.

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. Don't throw rats or mice overboard alive as they can swim up to 1 km.

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 offense to take turtles and exotic parrots to offshore islands, especially Aotea / Great Barrier – see a list of animal pests on 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 around the Hauraki Gulf need to be microchipped so they can be returned to you safely if they get lost overboard.

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 Producer 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.

Get a copy of the Pest Free Warrant Conditions to find out what you’ll need to do to obtain a warrant, and when these rules will come into effect for different types of businesses:

​To find out more or apply for a Pest Free Warrant, contact

Pest Free Warrant logo

Moving a building between islands

If you're moving a building into, through or from one island in the Hauraki Gulf to another, you need to have an inspection to ensure that no pests are being transported.

Note that a 10 working days' notice is required when booking an inspection.

To book an inspection, contact us.

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