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Kapiti Island Nature Reserve

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Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is about 8 km (5 miles) off the west coast of the lower North Island of New Zealand. It is about 10 km long and about 2 km wide, covering an area of 1,965 hectares. The highest point, Tuteremoana, is 521 metres above sea-level.

The island is the site of Kapiti Island Nature Reserve and adjoins Kapiti Marine Reserve. Most of the island is in public ownership, excepting the northern part of the island which remains in Maori ownership.

There are 2 public tracks on Kapiti island. The Trig and McKenzie Tracks lead up to the summit and join about 3/4 of the way up then a single track leads to the top. The time it takes to walk to the top and return is about 3 hours. It is very steep in places.

The island has a colourful history associated firstly with the great Maori chief Te Rauparaha and then with whaling and farming before the island was reserved as a bird sanctuary in 1897.

In 1987 the New Zealand Department of Conservation took over the island and immediately efforts were made to return the island to a natural state. Sheep and possums were removed first of all and then rats were eradicated in 1998, an action few thought possible for an island of its size.

(page last updated  23 September 2010)