Te Matau a Maui (Cape Kidnappers Sanctuary)

Cape Sanctuary is the largest privately owned and funded wildlife restoration project of its kind in New Zealand. It is situated on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula, 20 km south of Napier, owned by Julian Robertson, and the Hansen and Lowe families. The landowners share a vision to restore the coastal communities of landbirds, seabirds, reptiles and invertebrates that would once have existed on the peninsula. The project aims to achieve significant biodiversity gains alongside the existing land uses of farming, forestry, recreation and tourism. The 2500 ha sanctuary includes a DOC reserve (13 ha), the world-class Cape Kidnappers golf course and a mosaic of pasture, pine forest, regenerating native forest, native gullies and nationally significant dune systems.

In 2007, the landowners completed a 10.6 km long pest-proof fence across the base of the peninsula from coast to coast. The system is ‘leaky’ and from time to time pest animals may enter the sanctuary around the fence ends. Ongoing trapping and poisoning inside and outside the fence maintains predators to consistently low levels.

A number of translocations to the sanctuary have taken place; kiwi, pateke, robin, tomtit, rifleman and whitehead are now successfully established. In the near future, South Island takahē, Red-crowned kākāriki, North Island kākā and North Island saddleback reintroductions are also planned.

Programmes to re-establish seabirds began in 2008. Grey-faced petrel, Cook’s petrel and diving petrel chicks have been transferred from natal sites to artificial burrows within a 1.5 ha predator-proof enclosure within the sanctuary. The chicks are hand reared until they fledge – some will return to breed at the sanctuary. Similar programmes are planned for White-faced storm petrel and Mottled petrel in 2013. In March 2012, 20 young tuatara were also released to a small enclosure inside the seabird enclosure. An additional 40 adult tuatara are planned to be released in November 2012.

Cape Sanctuary is collaborating with Poutiri Ao ō Tāne on transfer programmes for Cook’s petrel and Mottled petrel, and will also contribute towards the establishment of kākā into the forests of Poutiri.

Volunteers have assisted with nearly all aspects of the Cape Sanctuary project. Their involvement has been pivotal to the successes achieved so far.

Or for further enquiries contact Tamsin (Cape manager pictured right) or Kahori:

Tamsin Ward-Smith
Kahori Nakagawa
Also please visit
www.capesanctuary.co.nz (under construction)
Our photos can be viewed at
You can also find us on Facebook at
Or on Nature space at


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