Motuora Restoration Project, New Zealand - 2016 SERA Award for Restoration Excellence (Co-winner, NZ division)

Motuora Restoration Society is has taken responsibility for the restoration and day-to-day management of Motuora Island (an 80-hectare island in the Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand, owned by the government of New Zealand). The project's aspiration is summed up in our statement "It is our dream that future generations will enjoy a forest alive with native birds, reptiles and insects". Over the years the combined efforts of DOC staff, University researchers, the committee, thousands of volunteers and a host of donors and sponsors have worked hard to bring the Island which was once cleared for farming to its present state where a native forest once again flourishes and faunal populations are reestablishing .

The Society and its volunteers have contributed many thousands of hours to the restoration of the island since 1995, raising and planting more than 300,000 native seedlings. This work has restored Motuora from a pastoral farm (dominated by introduced grasses, weeds and only a small remnant fringe of naturally regenerating native forest) to a functioning native ecosystem, predominantly covered in early succession native forest with an intact canopy. Today the planting of 400,000 trees of pioneer species is all but complete; and the raising and planting of 'canopy' and less hardy species is ongoing.

In terms of faunal restoration, one invertebrate species, Wetapunga (Deinacrida heteracantha) has been introduced and four reptiles: Shore Skink (Oligosoma smithi), Duvaucel's Gecko (Hoplodactylus duvaucelii), Raukawa Gecko (Woodworthia maculata) and Pacific Gecko (Dactylocnemis'pacificus). One small land bird - Whitehead (Mohoua albicilla) has been translocated with 40 individuals moved to the Island and this insectivorous species has flourished. Four seabird species have been attracted or translocated to the Island including the Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix), and Pycroft's Petrel (Pterodroma pycrofti) and sound attraction systems have led to initial breeding of Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia) and Australasian Gannet (Morus serrator). Initial results of the introductions show sufficient survival of initial colonisers of the species introduced to suggest that new populations will be established.

Figure 1 - Aerial view of the Island before planting began. Area to bottom left has been sprayed in preparation for planting (Photo from cover of 2007 Motuora Native Species Restoration Plan).

Figure 2 - Aerial view of the Island after completion of the pioneer planting. (Photo by Toby Shanley)

For a more detailed report see motuora-restoration-project-new-zealand

Contact: Secretary, Motuora Restoration Society, Email:; www:

To promote your successful restoration project on this website please return your completed casestudy form to Mr Vern Newton, and do not forget to include some pictures of your success.

For details of current ecosystem rehabilitation or restoration projects already showing promising results in Australia please visit the Ecological Management and Restoration Project Summaries page.

For information relating to case studies of a global nature please visit the Global Restoration Network (GRN) website, a project of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).