Flora and Fauna


The insects of Kaikoura have not been studied in great depth, but they will have been heavily disrupted by human occupation on the island. The remnant habitat left on the steeper cliffs will have provided a haven for many species but others with particular requirements may no longer be on Kaikoura. It is hoped that a full survey will reveal which species remain and indicate which may have to be reintroduced from Great Barrier Island. There may be some species endemic to the outer Hauraki Gulf islands and if research can identify them, we will endeavour to provide suitable habitat in order to increase their population.
Most likely there are flightless ground beetles – a carabid Mecodema has been found on Great Barrier Island and sand scarabs are common there.

With only rats as predators on Kaikoura the insects and invertebrates there may have survived better than their counterparts on the mainland.

Lizards are one of the striking features of the region's natural wildlife. Eleven species of skink and five gecko species inhabit Great Barrier and the surrounding islands. There is also one species of frog and possibly tuatara in the region. Many of the lizards are nocturnal and are seldom seen, but the status for several species is in no doubt. They are severely threatened by rats, cats, pigs, mice and dogs.

Motu Kaikoura has good numbers of moko skink (Oligosoma moco) which occur around the coast and along the edges of the airstrip. It is anticipated that other species will be found as the island has extensive areas of suitable habitat.

The exciting species that may be present or could be introduced in the future are:

  • Chevron skink (Oligosoma Homalonotum),
  • Duvaucel's gecko (Hoplodactylus duvaucelii),
  • the striped skink (Oligosoma striatum),
  • and the egg laying skink (Oligosoma suteri).

Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) occur on other islands nearby and they would be a priority to (re)introduce once rats are removed from Kaikoura.

If enough suitable habitat can be created on Kaikoura the enigmatic native Hochstetter's frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri) could be encouraged to breed.



Since Motu Kaikoura was first cleared, the bird life has had a hard time of it. Fires, foreign pasture grasses, lack of food and lack of shelter all contributed to the island's impoverished bird life. Today, after 50 years of neglect, the island has restored itself to the point where there is hope for the birds. Both those that remain and those that were forced to flee to Great Barrier or beyond can now look forward to a healthier future.

As soon as pests are eradicated they can begin the slow process of re-establishing their populations and their territories.

There has not yet been a comprehensive survey of bird species but there are exciting possibilities.
The most obvious birds are the kaka (Nestor meridionalis) with their raucous screeching as they shred pine cones to get at the seeds within. The island's restoration is justified for this species alone as it is quickly obvious that this is one of New Zealand's strongholds for kaka.
The management process would ensure there are sufficient alternative food sources for kaka, before the pines are significantly reduced in numbers.

The other very important species that is already using the island for feeding is brown teal (Anas chlorotis). With New Zealand's only sustainable population being found on Great Barrier, the brown teal is in trouble and desperately needs a pest-free sanctuary. It already has a 'toe-hold' on Kaikoura, being seen dabbling around the coastline. When Motu Kaikoura is rat-free, brown teal may be encouraged ashore to breed. It has proved to be an adaptable duck in captivity, and we expect its numbers can be multiplied rapidly in a semi-captive and protected environment.

Other native species known to be on Kaikoura are:
Shining cuckoo, NZ pigeon, tui, morepork, fantail, kingfisher, pied shag, white-faced heron, and banded rail. There will undoubtedly be other species which may pass in transit to Little Barrier Island, and sea-bird species which may breed on the more remote areas.

A Dream Too Far?

We certainly don't think so.  The date is December 2010.   'Miro' is the first kokako chick to fledge in the Waitakere Ranges in 80 years, following the successful introduction of adult kokako from other management areas.  This epoch-making achievement is only because of persistent pest control by the many dedicated members of the 'Ark in the Park' team.   Predator control is well underway on Kaikoura Island too, and in years to come when the native bush has fully recoved, there's no reason to doubt the practicality of introducing a similar range of avian species as currently undergoing their renaissance in other carefully managed areas, e.g. at Tawharanui and Tiritiri Matangi.

The photograph by John Stewart shows 'Miro' being held by Robbie Havell during the attachment of leg rings.  Note the mauve colour of Miro's wattle -  it will have changed to blue by adulthood.  

Thanks to the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand.

Species List

Fungi (9)
Amanita muscaria*
Biscogniauxia capnodes var rumpens
Cyclomyces tabacinus
Favolaschia calocera*
Ganoderma sp
Gymnopilus junonius
Lachnum sp
Pycnoporus coccineus
Xylaria bypoxylon
Lichen (7)
Cladina confusa
Chrysothrix candelaris
Ramalina celasti
Rimelea reticulata
Stereocaulon sp
Usnea sp
Xanthoria parietina
Reptiles (1)
Oligosoma moco Moko skink
Gymnosperms (5)
Agathis australis
Cupressus macrocarpa*
Pinus pinaster*
Pinus radiata*
Prumnopitys ferruginea
Birds (11)
Ardea novaehollandiae White faced heron
Chrysococcyx luciduslucidus Shining cuckoo
Gerygone igata Grey warbler
Halcyon sancta vagans Kingfisher
Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae NZ Pigeon
Hirundo tahitica neoxena Welcome swallow
Nestor meridionalis Kaka
Ninox novaeseelandiae Morepork
Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae Tui
Rhipidura fuliginosa Fantail
Turdus merula merula Blackbird
Mosses (7)
Bryum dichotomum
Camylopus introflexus
Hypnodendron sp
Leucobryum candidum
Ptychomnion aciculare
Rhynchostegium tenuifolium
Thuidium furfurosum
Dicotyledons (135)
Ageratina adenophora*
Anagallis arvensis*
Apium prostratum
Apium "white denticles"
Aster subulatus*
Atriplex prostrata*
Avicennia marina var. resinifera
Beilschmiedia tarairi
Beilschmiedia tawa
Beilschmiedia tawaroa
Brachyglottis kirkii
Brachyglottis repanda
Callitriche muelleri
Callitriche stagnalis*
Carmichaelia australis
Celmisia major! (AK 11741)
Centella uniflora
Cirsium vulgare*
Clematis cunninghamii
Clematis paniculata
Conyza bilbaoana*
Coprosma grandifolia
Coprosma macrocarpa
Coprosma repens
Coprosma rhamnoides
Coprosma robusta
Coprosma robusta x macrocarpa
Coriaria arborea
Corynocarpus laevigatus
Cotoneaster glaucophyllus*
Cotula australis
Crassula sieberiana
Dichondra repens
Disphyma australe
Dodonaea viscosa
Drosera auriculata
Dysoxylum spectabile
Einadia triandra
Elaeocarpus dentatus
Entelea arborescens
Erica baccans
Eruca vesicaria subsp sativa*!
Erythrina x sykesii*
Eucalyptus spp
Euchiton gymnocephalus
Euphorbia peplus*
Galium propinquum
Geniostoma rupestre var. ligustrifolium
Geranium robertianum*
Geranium solanderi "coarse hairs"
Gonocarpus incanus
Hakea gibbosa*
Hakea sericea*
Haloragis erecta
Hebe macrocarpa
Hebe pubescens subsp rehuarum
Hedycarya arborea
Helichrysum lanceolatum
Hoheria populnea
Hydrocotyle moschata
Hydrocotyle elongata
Hypericum japonicum
Knightia excelsa
Kunzea ericoides
Kunzea ericoides x sinclairii
Kunzea sinclairii
Leontodon taraxacoides*
Leptecophylla juniperina
Leptospermum scoparium
Leucopogon fasciculatus
Leucopogon fraseri
Linum sp
Litsea calicaris
Lobelia anceps
Lotus ? suaveolens*
Macropiper excelsum subsp excelsum
Melianthus major*
Melicope ternata
Melicytus ramiflorus
Metrosideros excelsa
Metrosideros perforata
Muehlenbeckia complexa
Myoporum laetum
Myrsine australis
Nasturtium sp
Nestegis apetala
Nestegis lanceolata
Olearia furfuracea
Oxalis rubens
Ozothamnus leptophyllus
Parietaria debilis
Parsonsia heterophylla
Passiflora edulis*
Pelargonium inodorum
Peperomia urvilleana
Physalis peruviana*
Phytolacca octandra*
Pimelea aff urvilleana
Pittosporum crassifolium
Pittosporum umbellatum
Plantago lanceolata*
Pomaderris kumeraho
Pomaderris phylicifolia var ericifolia
Pouteria costata
Pseudognaphalium luteo-album agg
Pseudopanax arboreus
Pseudopanax lessonii
Rhabdothamnus solandri
Rubus cissoides
Sagina procumbens*
Samolus repens
Sarcocornia quinqueflora
Scandia rosifolia
Schefflera digitata
Senecio hispidulus
Senecio jacobaea*
Senecio lautus
Senecio minimus
Siegesbeckia orientalis*
Solanum aviculare
Solanum americanum
Sonchus ? asper*
Sophora microphylla (S. chathamica)
Spergularia marginata
Stellaria sp
Tetragonia trigyna
Ulex europaeus*
Verbascum thapsus*
Veronica plebia*
Vicia narbonensis*! (AK 76198)
Vinca major*
Vitex lucens
Vittadinia australis! (WELT herbarium)
Wahlenbergia violacea
Weinmannia silvicola
Monocotyledons (55)
Acianthus sinclairii
Alocasia brisbanensis*
Arthropodium cirratum
Astelia banksii
Astelia solandri
Bulbophyllum pygmaeum
Carex breviculmis
Carex flagellifera
Carex inversa
Carex lambertiana
Carex longebrachiata*
Carex ? ochrosaccus
Carex pumila
Carex virgata
Collospermum hastatum
Cortaderia selloana*
Cortaderia splendens
Cyperus ustulatus
Cyrtostylis oblonga
Dactylis glomerata
Dianella nigra
Earina autumnalis
Earina mucronata
Ficinia nodosa
Gahnia lacera
Gahnia setifolia
Genoplesium pumilum
Isolepis cernua
Isolepis ? prolifer
Juncus australis
Juncus effusus*
Juncus edgariae
Lachnagrostis billardierei
Lachnagrostis filiformis
Lepidosperma laterale
Microlaena polynoda
Microlaena stipoides
Morelotia affinis
Oplismenus hirtellus subsp. imbecillis
Orthoceras novaezeelandiae
Phormium tenax
Poa anceps
Pterostylis alobula
Rhopalostylis sapida
Ripogonum scandens
Rytidosperma racemosum
Rytidosperma sp
Schoenus tendo
Sporobolus africanus*
Thelymitra sp (not longifolia)
Thelymitra longifolia or aff longifolia
Triglochin striatum
Uncinia uncinata
Winika cunninghamii
Zantedeschia aethiopica*

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