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..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018

(https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-great-kokako-story-celebrating-21-years-..

Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KŌKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

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

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  ©.