Nãu mai, haere mai

Welcome to Matakohe - Limestone Island, a sanctuary in the heart of Whangarei Harbour. The island has been the focus of restoration efforts since 1989, with a mission to restore Matakohe to a functioning coastal broadleaf forest ecosystem.

Open for everyone to enjoy, and just a boat ride from Whangarei city or a short paddle from the suburb of Onerahi, community input has transformed Matakohe-Limestone Island from degraded pasture into a regenerating forest habitat – 155,000 trees planted and counting.

Mammalian predators have been eradicated from the island, meaning this ‘new’ forest is now a safe home for a growing variety of threatened native fauna that have been re-introduced, including kiwi, banded rail, New Zealand dotterel, moko skink and forest gecko.

The island is also the site of Matakohe pa and once extensive kumara gardens, as well as the impressive ruins of one of Whangarei's earliest industrial sites - the Limestone Island cement works, founded in 1856.

Restoration efforts are coordinated by members of the community, the Friends of Matakohe–Limestone Island Society (FOMLI), in partnership with Whangarei District Council, made possible thanks to the support of numerous partners and sponsors such as Golden Bay Cement.


Adopt A Spot got underway in 2013. With the island substantially planted, it was time to consolidate the gains and focus on nurturing the developing forest cover. What better way to do this than Adopt-A-Spot. The idea is that a person or group of people look after a specific area on the island, interplanting where necessary, removing weeds and releasing grass from around young trees.




Our first day for planting is going to be coinciding with the first day of National Volunteer Week - how appropriate!

We will be planting on: Sunday 15th June, Sunday 22nd June, Sunday 29th June, Sunday 6th July

Weather permitting; the boat pickup is from the Onerahi boat ramp at 9am, returning at approximately 1:30- 2 pm.

For those of you a bit unsure about coming along….DO!  This year’s sites are very accessible and won’t be too arduous, apart from a few rocks! We are also going to be doing a bit of tree releasing from last years planting.You will need to bring your lunch, a drink, good sturdy footwear for muddy conditions and a shower proof jacket. Spades and some gloves provided. Plants are provided (don’t bring your own!).

Contact ranger Bernie on (09) 436 0923 for more information. Pass the message on to your friends and family!



Seven very special Auckland green geckos were released from quarantine with a special surprise, two tiny geckos which had been born during their stay in Auckland. These guys arrived and as they were the last green gecko’s for the island a small welcoming ceremony was called for. Fred Tito blessed the lizards on to the island and they were released at a site where they will get plenty of sun and lots of moths and other invertebrates.



Whilst carrying out improvement work to the petrel burrows we found our first petrel of the year, Yay! This return mirrors last years by about two days and was a real treat for all of us (and they smell nice). The upcoming petrel top-up has also been applied and we are trying to organise sponsorship for this. Any seabird twitchers out there keep your ears open for some Oi work at the end of the year - biting, vomiting and pooing guaranteed apparently!


LIMESTONE TRIPS: Thinking of coming to the Island?

Just a quick reminder that most Sundays the good vessel the MV Waipapa leaves from the town basin in Whangarei for a harbour cruise with a stopover at the island for approximately an hour. This is a awesome way for people to visit this awesome place that usually could not normally do so with a friendly crew to boot. Check below for sailing dates and more details.