Planning on heading out on the Hauraki Gulf this summer?
Stop and spare a thought for kauri, kiwi, takahe and the rare sea birds on the gulf islands they call home.
We can all do our bit to keep the gulf islands a place where the environment is protected, and marine and wildlife is safe.
Before you leave the mainland, boaties, take a few moments to check your craft.
Ensure you have all your safety equipment on board and your boat’s been serviced for summer; just as importantly, make time to check there are no stowaways on board.
Look for signs of nests or droppings from rodents, swarming ants, or plague skinks. They’re all masters at dodging detection while rodents are talented swimmers. Vigilance is needed to prevent any of these stowaways reaching one of our islands.
If part of your plan is to step ashore or to visit any of our nearby islands, top up your water bottle, pack a picnic (there are no shops on any of the islands except on Waiheke and Great Barrier Island) and check no advance party of ants have managed to smuggle themselves inside your basket or hamper; storing food in re-usable sealed containers is a good idea.
If a bushwalk or mountain bike ride on an island (including Waiheke) is more to your taste, clean your boots and wheels; taking mainland kauri dieback disease to the islands is not what we want. Cleaning removes deposits of mud and weed seeds.
Finally, if your pet pooch or cat is along for the ride, remember there are very few places you can take them ashore. Many of our islands are pest free and they’re not welcome ashore; they’re a risk to our birdlife. Make sure you know which islands you can take them on to.