It’s hard to beat a summer’s day spent island-hopping around Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, but Save the Kiwi is asking boaties to think twice about letting the family dog tag along. The reason is simple: it’s putting our national bird at risk. A number of islands in the Hauraki Gulf are home to kiwi sanctuaries. Thanks to their remoteness, pest-free islands such as Rotoroa – only a couple of kilometres east of Waiheke – are utilised to keep young kiwi safe from predators until they’re old enough to survive on the mainland. These islands are pivotal in Save the Kiwi’s conservation efforts, and they also provide safe habitat for other native bird species. Unfortunately, the massive effort required to keep these areas predator-free is being undone when unwitting boaties bring their predators with them.

The Hauraki Gulf is the ultimate playground for boaties, but it’s also home to a number of kiwi sanctuaries that need to be respected.

Every summer, Save the Kiwi receives reports of dogs wandering on protected islands as their owners enjoy the beach and surrounding coastline. For most boaties and fishers, it’s not malicious, but just a simple matter of
not being aware of where they can safely let their dogs ashore. This is why Save the Kiwi has kicked off a campaign to educate boaties about the rules on DOC-managed islands. If you head to their website, you’ll quickly find that dogs are prohibited on over 20 Hauraki Gulf islands, and even some onshore areas – such as the popular Tãwharanui Regional Park and Hibiscus Coast’s Shakespear Regional Park – are off-limits for dogs, so it is essential every Auckland boatie checks the full list of restricted areas before they let their dog off the boat. And while Save the Kiwi’s campaign focuses on the Hauraki Gulf, places like the Bay of Islands also have island sanctuaries that dog owners need to be aware of. ‘Know before you go,’ is the simple advice Save the Kiwi offers to every NZ boatie, no matter what region they live in – and there’s a good reason behind
this message.

Dogs are prohibited on over 20 Hauraki Gulf islands, so it is essential every Auckland boatie checks the full list of restricted areas before they let their dog off the boat.”

Think twice before letting your dog onshore Hauraki Gulf Islands this summer.

Aotearoa used to be home to millions of kiwi, but this number has dwindled to roughly 68,000 and is continuing to drop by 2% every year. Save the Kiwi is dedicated to reducing this decline, but it’s going to take a big effort from all of us to ensure our country’s namesake will be around for future generations to enjoy, so please think twice before bringing the family pet onshore during your next island adventure. No extra motivation should be required to follow the conservation laws, but it is worth noting that anyone caught bringing dogs into prohibited areas may be issued with an infringement fine up to $10,000 or face up to 12 months in prison.

“Aotearoa used to be home to millions of kiwi, but this number has dwindled to roughly 68,000 and is continuing to drop by 2% every year.”

If you are unsure about where you can take your dog, Save the Kiwi has an interactive map with all the prohibited locations on their website: savethekiwi.nz/boaties. And it’s not all bad news – you’ll also find a list of the locations where you can safely take your dog onshore, including parts of Waiheke Island and Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Stay safe out there this season, and spare a thought for our national bird before you set out for a day on the Gulf!