Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..

2018 Photo Comp opens for entries

Date posted: 27-Nov-2017

The 2018 Photo Competition is now open for entries. Click here (/2018-photo-competition-tiritiri-mat..

New reports on ruru nesting and Island conservation

Date posted: 02-Oct-2017

Two new reports have been added to the website. The first gives details of a summer students..

2018 calendars now available

Date posted: 27-Sep-2017

Our latest calendar, beautifully illustrated with images taken on the Island, is now available fo..

Guided walks for photographers

Date posted: 21-Jun-2017

For a wonderful day of wildlife photography please join us on Tiritiri Matangi Island for a Ph..

Ferry discounts for Supporters

Date posted: 18-May-2017

Tiritiri Matangi Island, the perfect winter's day trip. The birds are at their best, warm up w..

More kiwi for the Island

Date posted: 04-Apr-2017

In 1993 and 1995, sixteen little spotted kiwi were released on Tiritiri Matangi Island. The ma..

2017 Photo Competition

Date posted: 22-Mar-2017

It is that time of year again when we are looking for entries for our photo competition (and phot..

The 2017 concert

Date posted: 05-Feb-2017

This year's concert promises to be another wonderful and unique experience. Click here (/concert-..

Shorebird Film Festival at Devonport

Date posted: 26-Oct-2016

Click here (/miscellaneous documents/DevWaderFilms.jpg) for details of a forthcoming film festival c..

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  ©.