What does a ranger do all day on Hauturu?

Shane McInnes —  10/11/2009

Hauturu/Little Barrier Island diary #3

So what do us rangers do all day on Hauturu/Little Barrier Island?

One of the main attractions of a job like this is the variety of work. You are never doing the same thing for very long and there are always brand new events happening (both exciting and sometimes problematic).

Keeping the island pest free

The main duty we are put here to perform is to keep the island pest free. To undo all of the great work done in the past would be very sad indeed, so we are ever vigilant, and for the small amount of people who get to set foot on our fair shores there are strict quarantine measures.

Shane in the Hine Moana

Shane in the Hine Moana. Photo: Liz Whitwell, DOC.

We undertake regular patrols of the island, via sea, in our custom built run-about Hine Moana, as well as monitor many tracking tunnels around the island’s coastline.

Since the kiore/Pacific rat eradication, we have responded to many sightings by people visiting the island of “brown shapes” in the grass, or evidence of people that have landed around the coast. We have to put traps out to catch any nasties suspected of being there, and it takes about two weeks for us to, thus far, deem the island safe.

Dealing to the weeds

Another of the main jobs on the island is running a weed program. Liz is in charge of this. Species such as climbing asparagus, pampas grass and Mexican devil have become a pain in the neck out here and it is taking a large amount of resources to bring them under control. We attack these weeds from the ground with a team of around five for three months a year, from the air via helicopter (more about that later!), and on the cliffs via an abseil team. Weeds are the single biggest problem here on the island and they threaten the vast numbers of species that call the place home. If you have any of the above weeds in your garden, deal to them now!

What’s next?

So that’s about all from paradise for now. We’ll be bringing you updates every so often to keep you in the loop of what’s happening on Treasure Island. In the meantime, have a think about your own back yard and go out and have a look.

Shane McInnes


Due to an affliction called "Islomania", I have spent the majority of my DOC life working on a couple of New Zealand's best islands. I am currently the ranger on Hauturu/Little Barrier Island, where I have lived and worked with my partner Liz for the past 4 years.