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Hauturu: The history, flora and fauna of Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island

Hauturu The history, flora and fauna of Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island by LYN WADE AND DICK VEITCH


Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of New Zealand conservation, with its almost intact ecosystem and high biodiversity values. Its profile is familiar to many who live and work around the Hauraki Gulf: an almost mythical place of boisterous birds and ancient forests — unable to be visited, and practically out of reach given that it is protected by strict quarantine requirements.

Now Hauturu: The history, flora and fauna of Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island, a richly illustrated book published in September by Massey University Press, makes it possible to access unique insights into this ecological island paradise.

‘Visitors to the island comment that the island looks prehistoric, like Jurassic Park,’ says editor Lyn Wade, awarded a QSM for services to conservation. ‘On landing, their next comment is about the incredible noise of the birdsong.’

The work on Hauturu is also of international importance. ‘Both the cat and rat eradication operations were seen as leaders in pest-eradication work worldwide at the time they were initiated,’ says co-editor Dick Veitch. ‘Many people said they could not be achieved.’ The island did in fact achieve predator-free status, decades ahead of the government’s ambitious national target to achieve that goal by 2050. It is now the source of many birds and reptiles translocated to repopulate other wildlife sanctuaries around Aotearoa. As such, it is a precious ark.

Hauturu tells this story alongside a comprehensive account of both the island’s history and biodiversity from over 30 scientists, researchers and photographers. Detailed chapters covering plant and animal species, and the efforts to protect them, geology and the seas around Hauturu, as well as species lists, help to convey the immense biodiversity of the island.

The story of Hauturu is not just of its wildlife, however, but also of the people who have lived and worked there. The book highlights the men and women who have protected the island; researchers working in challenging terrain to understand its flora and fauna, and conservation innovators bringing new techniques to eradicate introduced pests.

Hauturu features hundreds of photographs of plants and animals, geology and habitats. It honours and celebrates the special place the island has in the minds of New Zealanders, particularly those who know how critical it is to the preservation of our country’s unique natural heritage.



Lyn Wade

Lyn Wade has been a member of the Little Barrier Island (Hauturu) Supporters’ Trust since its inception in 1997; she has been a trustee since 2005 and is the current chairperson. Her first visit to Hauturu was in 1956 alongside her father, Bill Hamilton, in the course of researching his DSIR Bulletin 137 ‘Little Barrier Island (Hauturu)’. Lyn has made multiple visits to the island in various capacities since then. In 2018 Lyn was awarded a QSM for her services to conservation, in particular for work she has done on Te Hauturu-o-Toi. She is based near Warkworth.


Dick Veitch

Dick Veitch spent his working career with the New Zealand Wildlife Service, now part of the Department of Conservation. His first contact with Hauturu was in 1964, with the team carrying out the transfer of kiwi from Little Barrier to Pōnui Island, where they now thrive. He later managed the cat eradication project, transfer of hihi to other islands, the return of tīeke to Hauturu and the transfer of kōkako from North Island forests to Hauturu. Dick is now retired but is still actively involved with restoration projects on Hauturu. He lives at Papakura, south of Auckland


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