Monday, May 20, 2024


New Zealand: Government Steps in to Save Island Sanctuary

The New Zealand Government has moved a step closer to securing the future of one of Auckland’s most historic sanctuary’s after a placing a bid for the Kotuku Peninsula on Great Barrier Island.

  • An 80 ha nature sanctuary has been saved from the threat of development after the New Zealand Government stepped in with a last-minute offer to purchase the island
  • The Glenfern Sanctuary, located on New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island is home to a series of rare species of flora and fauna, including a 300 year-old kauri tree
  • The property had been up for private sale, but is now likely to be bought by a consortium including the Government, Auckland Council and Great Barrier Local Board


Great Barrier Island - Photo Courtesy of David Hancock (

Great Barrier Island – Photo Courtesy of David Hancock (

Conservationists throughout the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating the New Zealand Government’s last ditch efforts to rescue one of the country’s most history nature havens, the Glenfern Sanctuary on Great Barrier Island’s Kotuku Peninsula.

The future of the Glenfern had been at risk after it was placed up for sale via Sotheby’s International Realty for the price of NZD 3.35 million. Without the intervention of the New Zealand Government, it was feared that the peninsular would end up in the hands of a bidder unwilling to retain the sanctuary.

Thanks to Conservation Minister Maggie Barry’s cash-injection promise, however, the future of the historic sanctuary looks bright, with nascent plans transfer the peninsula into public ownership already in place.

If successful, the island would be managed by a consortium made up of the NZ Government, Auckland Council and the Great Barrier Local Board.

Glenfern Sanctuary – A Nature Haven

Currently tucked away behind a pest-proof fence, the Glenfern Sanctuary contains over 15,000 trees and has become a haven for some of New Zealand’s rarest avian species, including the black petrel, the pateke (more commonly known as the brown teal) the North Island robin, the kaka and the chevron skink.

And as well as the multitude of natural life on the peninsula, the 80 hectare property also forms home to the historic Fitzroy House (built in Fitzroy Harbour back in 1901) and a 300-year-old Kauri (agathis australis) tree – one of the world’s largest and longest-living tree species and one that is native to New Zealand.

The peninsula was once the property of a world champion sailor with a heart for conservation, Tony Bouzaid. Mr Bouzaid passed away in October 2011 after overseeing the planting of 15,000 trees and the construction of a 2 km fence designed to protect the endangered wildlife residing on the Kotuku Peninsula.

A trust (The Kutuku Peninsula Trust) was formed to manage the 260 hectare peninsula, but concerns for the sanctuary’s future mounted after the late Mr Bouzaid’s family put the waterfront property up for sale earlier this year. After the family then decided to work closer with conservation organizations, however, the path was paved to bring the peninsula back into public hands.

Private Island News will bring you the latest developments on Glenfern Sanctuary as they arise.

Photo of Great Barrier Island provided courtesy of David Hancock – please visit for more fantastic photography. 

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