Our Mission

Our mission is to protect native species through the eradication of rats and feral cats, to re-introduce species lost to the island, and to work towards building an ecology-based economy for Aotea/Great Barrier.  Our vision is to bring kokako back to Aotea.


Great Barrier Island is a paradise for people and nature alike
— The Department of Conservation NZ

Since its establishment in 2002 the aim of Great Barrier Island Environmental Trust (formerly GBI Charitable Trust) has been to build awareness in the local community of the potential environmental, social, and economic benefits of eradicating rats and feral cats from the island.

Important steps towards restoration will be the return of species already lost to the island and the protection of those species we treasure (such as pateke, black petrel, chevron skink, dotterel, kaka, kereru, kakariki and others). Ngati Rehua / Ngati Wai ki Aotea are committed to bringing back kokako to te Paparahi but rat numbers need to reduce dramatically for this to happen - either through ground based control in Te Paparahi, or via whole of island measures.

It is possible for Great Barrier Island to become the largest inhabited, predator-free island sanctuary in the world, but such a future can only be possible with community support and using methods acceptable to the community. The Department of Conservation and Auckland Council have indicated it would be technically feasible and some funding could be available, but only if the community affirms its support.

The trust and others are working to foster constructive discussion amongst the island's many communities to progress a vision all can support, and to demonstrate the potential long term social, economic and infrastructure benefits of such a future for Aotea.


Profile and activities

We are a community-initiated Trust with more than 200 members and we have successfully applied for funding from a range of agencies and foundations to continue our work.  Read more about our history and achievements in the first 10 years of the trust here.

We produce a quarterly community newsletter – Bush Telegraph, facilitate Open Days at restoration sites, initiate meetings with key stakeholders and  represent the community and our members in the future planning for conservation on Great Barrier. We offer an annual scholarship for on-island research projects and publish research relevant to Great barrier/Aotea in Environmental News  (now bi-annual).

Our annual reports can be found here.

The Trust was formed in October 2002 following a series of meetings of local people involved in conservation initiatives on the island. It was decided that a formal umbrella group was needed to to support initiatives and advocate for conservation and to ensure a coordinated and integrated approach to the greater goal to restore the island's ecology.


Aims and Objectives

The principle activities of the Trust are in protecting, enhancing, developing and maintaining habitats for New Zealand native and endemic species on Great Barrier Island, with a particular focus on pest management through:

  • Research into and development of methods and systems which advance animal and plant pest management theory and practice.
  • Promotion of education and employment related to sustaining and enhancing the biological diversity of Great Barrier Island.
  • Promotion of and support for conservation practices and the establishment of habitat sanctuaries on private land on Great Barrier Island. 
  • Research into and promotion of the reintroduction of appropriate native and endemic species to Great Barrier Island.
  • Promotion and support for integrated planning and management of the marine environment around all the coastal areas of Great Barrier Island, which may include marine reserve areas, Mataiatai, partial take areas and Taiapure.