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Welcome to
Te Puka-Hereka

 

About the Island

Te Puka-Hereka (The Tied Anchor) Island, commonly known as Coal Island, is situated south of Milford Sound in the south-west corner of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. The 1163ha island lies at the entrance to Preservation Inlet, between Puysegur Point and Gulches Head.

A group of enthusiastic volunteers established the South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust in 2004, with the aim of making Coal Island predator free and then working with the Department of Conservation to reintroduce native birds. Coal Island was awarded pest free status in 2006 and the first relocation of endangered species took place in 2009.

Regular trap-clearing and monitoring visits are necessary to ensure predators are kept at bay. Many of these trips are open to volunteers. This is a unique opportunity to visit one of the most remote and beautiful areas of New Zealand.

Native bird species commonly seen on the island include the tui, bellbird/korimaka, fantail/pīwakawaka, brown creeper/pīpipi, tomtit/miromiro, rifleman/titipounamulittle shag/kawau pakakākā, kākāriki and falcon.

Three native bird species have so far been successfully reintroduced to Coal Island - Haast tokoeka (kiwi) in 2009; and Yellowhead/mohua and New Zealand robin/toutouwai in 2015.

About the Trust

The South West New Zealand Endangered Species Charitable Trust, known as the Coal Island Trust, was established in 2004. Members of the trust represent private, government and iwi interests. The trust has a close working relationship with the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Mission Statement

To establish and fund a world-class sanctuary on Te Puka-Hereka for rare and endangered native species of flora and fauna that will be jointly developed by private philanthropists, corporate and government participants.

Objectives

To clear Coal Island of introduced pests and predators.

To prevent the re-invasion of a permanent stoat and deer population.

To introduce a suitable range of rare and endangered native birds, plants and wildlife.

Restoration Timeline

Trust granted concession by DOC to undertake its planned activities.

2004

Archaeological assessment of the island made (Petchey 2004).

2004

Pest management plan developed to outline the proposed pest eradication methods and potential restoration goals for the island (Brown 2005)

2005

Botanical survey and baseline monitoring  carried out on Coal (Rogers and Rance 2005, Rance 2005)

2005

15 km stoat trap network established on Coal Island.   132 stoat traps were placed on Coal, eight on Weka Island, six on Steep-To Island and one on Round Island

2005

Adjacent mainland trapping established to the east of Coal Island to reduce the density there and possibility of pest invasion from that quarter. Almost 120 traps are now on the mainland

2005

Stoats eradicated from Coal until Feb 2010. Since then there have been a number of re-incursions, mostly synchronising with beech mast events. To date at each incursion all stoats have been caught within one to three months, leaving the island stoat free for 2-3 years until the next mast event.

2006

Deer eradicated from Coal.  A total of 75 deer were shot by professional hunters.  A ‘bait-minding’ team on the island immediately before the aerial bait drop shot one deer in July 2008, and this was the last reported sighting.  The aerial bait drop may have killed any remaining deer.

2006

Mice eradicated from Coal.  At the time, Coal Island was the largest island in the world ever cleared of mice.

2008

Baseline SRI (seedling ratio index) vegetation monitoring remeasured  (Geoff Rogers 2009)

2009

Haast tokoeka (kiwi) introduced to Coal.  38 individuals have been released as of September 2020.

2009

Yellowhead/mohua introduced to Coal. A total of 80 mohua were introduced.  The transfer was a success, with unbanded birds (born on the island) first sighted in 2016.

2015

New Zealand robin/toutouwai introduced to Coal. A total of 69 robins were introduced.  The transfer was a success, with unbanded birds (born on the island) first sighted in 2016.

2015

Acoustic attraction  to re-establish seabirds on Coal.  Three solar powered speaker systems were setup on the outer cliffs of Coal to attract sooty shearwater/titi) and mottled petrel/korure initially.

2020

The Trust is consulting with local southern iwi and DOC regarding a proposed saddleback/tīeke translocation to Coal and Steep-To islands, possibly in September or October 2021.

2020

The history of
Te Puka-Hereka

The Māori name for Coal Island is Te Puka-Hereka, which translates as ‘the tied anchor’. Ngāi Tahu is the iwi with mana whenua over Fiordland National Park. 

One of the earliest Māori settlements of the Fiordland area was made by the Waitaha people, who are believed by many to have settled directly in Te Wai Pounamu from Hawaiiki on the Uruao canoe.

In 1809, the American sealing captain Eber Bunker charted the south coast of Fiordland and gave the name of Preservation Harbour to what is now known as Preservation Inlet.

Coal Island, known as Te Puka-Hereka to early Maori, was called Preservation Island by early European visitors. In 1851, Captain Lort Stokes of the Archeron survey gave the island its European name by which we now know it. Although coal was found on the island in the early 1800s it was not of sufficient quantity or quality to sustain further development.

In the late 1800s the discovery of gold on the island brought the inevitable rush. One of the largest gold nuggets ever discovered in New Zealand was found on the beach at Moonlight Point, reportedly weighing 16 ounces. Kakapo were reported to be present on the island during the late 1800s.

Flora and Fauna

Coal Island has a healthy cover of native forest, predominantly rimu, kamahi, miro and rata. Flora found includes mistletoe (several beech varieties, Peraxilla tetrapetala and colensoi and Alepsis flavida), orchid (Drymoanthus flavis), sand spurge (Euphorbia glauca), punui (Stilbocarpa lyallii) and water milfoil (Myriophyllum robustum).

A variety of habitats exist on the island with a small lake of approximately 3ha, four permanent streams, extensive forest and coastal areas. The climate is generally cool, wet and windy.

Trustees

Sponsors

WWF

WWF

The World Wildlife Fund provided funding for the transport of volunteers and equipment to Preservation Inlet for the track cutting project.

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation

Department of Conservation - their expertise and commitment has been invaluable.

Ocular

Ocular

The Wellington-based design agency generously designed and built the 2020 version of the Trust’s website.

Arrow International

Arrow International

Donation of "Portacom"

The New Zealand Lotteries Commission

The New Zealand Lotteries Commission

Lotteries Commission funding enabled the Trust to engage a conservation contractor to develop a management plan for the eradication of pests on Coal Island.

Fiordland Conservation Trust

Fiordland Conservation Trust

The Fiordland Conservation Trust is a community-driven initiative supporting conservation projects in Fiordland, Southland and New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands.

Mōhua Trust

Mōhua Trust

The Mōhua Trust is dedicated to native bird conservation in the South Island of New Zealand.