Preserve Whangamata Islands
The Whangamata Islands remain under private ownership, with three of the Islands (not including Hauturu) classified as a Wildlife Sanctuary under the Wildlife Act administered by the Department of Conservation and the Kaitiaki (guardians).
While the scenic beauty of Whenuakura (Donut Island) is on a par with world renowned spots along the Pacific Coast such as New Chums Beach, Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, Whenuakura was never intended to be a visitor attraction. For decades the Whangamata community and regular holiday makers enjoyed this piece of paradise as their own.
The land owners have been eager to see the islands return to their former glory as a protected wildlife habitat for native flora and fauna, preserving the special features that earned their status in the first place. As recently as the 1980’s there were tuatara on the islands. Many native New Zealand birds continue to inhabit Whenuakura.
The owners are keen to empower the community to keep protecting their beloved backyard and also ensure the safety of those in the Whangamata harbour. Slowly the local community is being educated on the cultural and ecological significance of Whenuakura, Donut Island and the Whangamata Islands. They’re also keen to empower the community to continue protecting their treasured islands so future generations can experience these taonga in their primal state.
The majority of visitors who venture to Donut Island are oblivious to the fact that they’re visiting a wildlife sanctuary, established to preserve the very attributes that have lured them there in the first place. The conditions of the sanctuary, put in place to protect the flora and fauna, advise no landing or climbing on Whenuakura.
The owners continue to work together with Department of Conservation, Thames Coromandel District Council, Whangamata Surf Life Saving, Whangamata Harbour Master and other community groups in a quest to establish a safe world-class eco-tourism experience to protect and enhance the natural attributes of this taonga (treasure).
Help Preserve Whenuakura Donut Island
You can help preserve Whenuakura by understanding the cultural, ecological and historical significance of the place. The best way to do this is by travelling there with a certified tour company who will bring the Whangamata Islands to life with commentary detailing why this group of islands is regarded as taonga to the local people.
Join in the drive to preserve and enhance Whenuakura, the Whangamata Islands and the surrounding marine environment.