Registered as a charity with the Charities Commission since 2007 (CC10250) the Motuora Restoration Society (Inc) is an entirely voluntary group set up to undertake the restoration of the forest and to assist with reestablishing native birds and insects on this island in the Hauraki Gulf. We are recognised by the Department of Conservation as the lead community agency for this task, and since 2003 the Motuora Restoration Society has taken responsibility for the island’s day-to-day management.
In February 2016 the Motuora Restoration Society completed negotiating a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Conservation so that the Society is no longer responsible for the day-to-day management of Motuora but will continue to oversee the restoration projects on the island. These include taking care of the nursery, canopy tree planting, seabird and other species translocation and monitoring, as well as weeding and track maintenance.
The Motuora Restoration Society will continue to raise funds to carry on the flora and fauna restoration work so will still rely on members and volunteers to support our work.
In 1987-88, the Department of Conservation (DOC) carried out surveys of both the plant and bird life on the island, and Simon Chamberlin, who had lived on the island for many years, put forward the idea of Motuora as a predator-free habitat.
The idea was taken up by the Mid North Branch of Forest and Bird, which set up the Motuora Action Group to lobby for combined Forest and Bird and DOC support for the restoration of Motuora. A public meeting in Warkworth in September 1990 attended by various community groups agreed that a restoration project should be initiated, and trial plantings and upgrading of the perimeter fencing were begun. Eventually the need for an independent group to support the project became apparent, and the Motuora Restoration Society Inc was formed at a public meeting in Warkworth in March 1995.
The principal objects of the Society as given in its constitution are:
“(a) To develop Motuora Island and its marine environment as a publicly accessible sanctuary for New Zealand native flora and fauna;
(b) To endeavour to provide financial, material and physical support for work at Motuora Island;
(c) To heighten public awareness of the existence and role of Motuora as an open sanctuary;
(d) To take an active role in the formulation and promotion of appropriate policy recommendations to statutory and regulatory authorities having jurisdiction over Motuora Island.”
A landmark for the Society occurred in October 1997 when its committee met with representatives of DOC on Motuora for the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Society and DOC. This formally lays down the relationship between the Society and DOC and effectively recognises the Society as the lead community group and partner in the restoration project. The signing coincided with the completion by DOC of the Motuora Restoration Working Plan, a 77 page document which sets out in detail the form that restoration of the island is to take. This relationship was taken further in 2003 by an agreement for the Society to take over day-to-day management of the island, leading to the appointment by the Society of the first resident island manager in January 2004.Members of Forest and Bird planting in Still Bay, Motuora 1993. Photo: Les Buckton