Kapiti Island is a small but visually prominent island about 8 km (5 miles) off the west coast of the lower North Island of New Zealand. Kapiti is one of New Zealand’s most valuable nature reserves, and it is the only large island sanctuary for birds between Hauraki Gulf in the north and NZ’s southern outlying islands.
The island is home to a number of native birds (mostly re-introduced), including takahe, kokako, brown teal, stitchbirds, and tieke (saddleback), miromiro, piwakawaka, ruru, weka (hybrid of North and South Island subspecies), hihi, and toutouwai. The Brown Kiwi and Little Spotted Kiwi were released on the island between 1890 and 1910, and the island is now the stronghold for the latter species. Rat eradication has led to increases in Red-crowned Parakeets, North Island Robins, bellbirds, and saddlebacks, and the island is considered one of New Zealand's most important sites for bird recovery, as well as a major breeding site for sea birds. In April 2005, the critically endangered short-tailed bat was introduced to the island from a threatened population in the Tararuas, providing them with a separate, safer habitat.
There are regular tourist trips to the island. Each day, fifty people may visit Rangatira, approximately halfway along the eastern shore of Kapiti Island, and eighteen may visit the north end of the island. A permit must be obtained from the Department of Conservation. Overnight stays are not allowed within the nature reserve or public land on the island. Private boats may not land at Kapiti Island Nature Reserve. You must arrange your own transport using one of the licensed launch services.
Kapiti Marine Charter
Ph: +64 4 297 2585;
Mobile: 0274 424 850
Freephone: 0800 433 779
Kapiti Tours Ltd
Freephone: 0800 527 484
Having no natural mammalian predators, New Zealand birds are trusting, and a visitor to the island is likely to be rewarded by seeing a number of species.