More plaudits for Tiritiri Matangi

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

Recognition of the wonderful experience visitors have when visiting the Island h..

Results of the 2019 Photo Competition

Date posted: 15-Jul-2019

The results of this year's competition have now been decided. Click here (/2019-photo-co..

Lighthouse Open Day

Date posted: 30-Apr-2019

Our historic lighthouse, signal station and diaphonic foghorn will all be on dis..

We need a new Treasurer

Date posted: 08-Apr-2019

The Supporters need a new treasurer to take over in September when Kevin Vaughan..

2019 Concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2019

OrigiNZ, the tartan taonga are returning for the 2019 concert. Click..

Tiri's three unique foghorns

Date posted: 01-Feb-2019

Our next social event will take place on Monday 18th March when Carl Hayson and ..

Young Conservation Superstars win awards!

Date posted: 27-Jan-2019

Gabriel Barbosa and teacher Kate Asher, a team leader who co..

Entries for the 2019 photo competition

Date posted: 19-Jan-2019

We are now taking entries for the 2019 photographic competition. You can enter u..

Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Wetapunga


Wētāpunga are New Zealand's largest insect. Adult females, which are larger than the males, can have a body length of 10cm and a weight of 35g or more. They used to live in forests throughout Northland, the Auckland region and Hauraki Gulf islands, but due to habitat loss and predation by introduced mammals such as rats and stoats, they disappeared from everywhere except Hauturu/Little Barrier Island. 

The population on Hauturu increased significantly after kiore were removed from there in 2004, but because it is risky to have the whole population of a species living in one place, a decision was made to introduce wētāpunga to other Hauraki Gulf islands. A captive breeding programme at Butterfly Creek in Auckland was set up in 2008 and, in 2010, the first individuals were released on Motuora Island. 

As they grow, young wētāpunga go through a series of stages, called 'instars'. Motuora was able to receive animals at an earlier instar than Tiritiri Matangi because it does not have so many insect-eating predators, such as saddlebacks, tuatara and takahē, that would prey on immature wētāpunga. 

The release of 25 adult wētāpunga on Tiritiri Matangi in December 2011 attracted much public attention, and was an important step in the restoration of the Island's biodiversity.

Because wētāpunga have such a long life-cycle - it can take nearly three years from egg-laying to maturity - it will be many years before they become widespread on Tiri, but it is hoped that, in years to come, overnight visitors will see and appreciate these spectacular insects.


Photos:

Above right: wētāpunga on Tiritiri Matangi by Helen Bucksey.

Left: Dr Chris Green releasing wētāpunga on Tiritiri Matangi in December 2011 by Simon Fordham  ©.