Windy Hill Sanctuary

Aotea – Great Barrier Island


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Rats culled


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Our Island Sanctuary


The Trust’s overall objective is to sustain and enhance the biodiversity of the area by removing invasive plants and animals creating a Sanctuary within which native species can flourish, threatened species can be protected, and species that have been lost to the Island reintroduced. The Trust engages the community in the benefits of conservation and is committed to assisting the fragile economy of the Island by creating conservation based employment.


Who are we?

The Windy Hill Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust was formed in 2001 and is a registered Charitable Trust which manages the Windy Hill Sanctuary. The Trust was created to formalise the management of ecological restoration and to expand existing pest management projects initiated in 1999 by southeastern Great Barrier Island landowners.

For the past 24 years the Trust has been raising funds and employing field workers to systematically remove invasive plants and animals; monitor species outcomes; and research best practice. The area currently under intensive management for rats, mice, pigs, and feral cats totals 800 hectares.

North Island robins were translocated into the Sanctuary in 2004, 2009 and 2012 but failed to successfully establish a population at Windy Hill due to dispersal of young. Remanent robins from Windy Hill and Glenfern Sanctuary have however, formed a self-sustaining population on Hirakimata (Mt Hobson)..Two rare chevron skinks were released at Windy Hill by DoC in 2004 and three pateke released in 2011. In January 2011 a Duvaucels skink was trapped – the second only sighting in 40 years.

Why are we controlling pests?

This area of the Island has long been considered ecologically significant. It is remote, has very little development, and has large areas of undisturbed coastal-broadleaf- podocarp mature forest. The Sanctuary is home to brown teal duck, black petrels, Duvaucels gecko, chevron and striped skinks, kaka, and kereru. The Category C rare plant pimelea tomentosa is found on the coast. The area is recognised under Category 4 of the National Priorities for Biodiversity on Private Land. Three areas totalling 267 hectares are covenanted with QE11 National Trust. The landowners have responded to the call for all NZrs to halt the waning of the country’s biodiversity

What are the benefits?

The benefits to the biodiversity of the area are apparent. Bird numbers per hectare have doubled, lizard sightings are now common, and weta are abundant. The Sanctuary area is used to rehabilitate captured native species and for research, the results of which are of international significance. The community benefits economically and socially through the provision of employment opportunities—thirty employees to date. These jobs assist with reducing the number of unemployed on Island and up-skill workers to become conservation professionals. The project is a working role model of ecological restoration for DoC, other private landowners and organisations. The Trust is a member of the Sanctuaries of NZ group and shares widely the knowledge gained here

Windy Hill – Orchids

Flora & Fauna IMAGES

Great Barrier Island is home to a diverse range of plants and animals, many under threat of extinction..

Predator control

Protecting the remaining and recovering populations of native species by eradicating rats and other introduced species…

Our team

Predator control has been conducted at Windy Hill Sanctuary since 1999. Key to its success since is a strong team of staff and volunteers.


With over 20 years’ of record keeping at Windy Hill, our programme contributes to ongoing predator control learnings, establishing baselines and methods for control and monitoring.


Aotea’s birdlife continues to benefit from over 20 years’ of predator control.

Plants and Trees

View our gallery of Windy Hill Sanctuary’s unique mix of native flora.

Reptiles & Amphibians

Great Barrier Island is home to 14 native lizard species and 1 species of native frog.

Stream Life

Springs and streams begin their journies to the sea from the tops of the sanctuary. Within the pools and tubling torrents lives a small world of creatures.


Invertebrates benefit from reduced invasive predators. Some remarkable species thrive within Windy Hill’s borders.


From the rugged coastine to the bushclad peaks, the island’s landscapes are breathtaking.


Widely varied in colour, shape and size, the fungi found in Windy Hill Sanctuary are stunning.

$3.5 Million Raised

For Pest Eradication Projects

The private landowners involved make an annual donation to the project costs and the Trust Manager is voluntary – a minimum of 15 hours per week. Since 2000, funds have been raised from the Auckland Regional Council Environmental Initiatives Fund, World Wild Life Habitat Protection Fund, Pacific Conservation and Development Fund, QEII National Trust, Auckland City Heritage Fund, Scottwood Group, Lotteries Environment, Transpower Landcare, Biodiversity Condition Fund and Community Conservation Partnerships Fund. 

Get Involved

This project impresses through its professionalism and comprehensiveness. It not only benefits the local environment on Great Barrier but provides an excellent example for the rest of the country as to what can be achieved by committed and cooperative individuals in the field of conservation. 

- Auckland Regional Council

Our Partners & Sponsors

Foundation North
Auckland Council
Scott Macindoe Education Trust
Living Simply
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Phibbs & Co. Pro Bono Accounts
Kelvin Floyd Mapping
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