Trust granted concession by DOC to undertake its planned activities.
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/titipounamu, little shag/kawau paka, kākā, kākāriki and falcon.
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).
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.
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.
Archaeological assessment of the island made (Petchey 2004).
Pest management plan developed to outline the proposed pest eradication methods and potential restoration goals for the island (Brown 2005)
Botanical survey and baseline monitoring carried out on Coal (Rogers and Rance 2005, Rance 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
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
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.
Mice eradicated from Coal. At the time, Coal Island was the largest island in the world ever cleared of mice.
Baseline SRI (seedling ratio index) vegetation monitoring remeasured (Geoff Rogers 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.
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.
The history of
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.
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.
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 - their expertise and commitment has been invaluable.
The Wellington-based design agency generously designed and built the 2020 version of the Trust’s website.
Donation of "Portacom"
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
The Fiordland Conservation Trust is a community-driven initiative supporting conservation projects in Fiordland, Southland and New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands.
The Mōhua Trust is dedicated to native bird conservation in the South Island of New Zealand.