“The Wind’s Resting Place” – Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) 2014

Situated 15 miles from Cape Rodney and 11 miles from Aotea (Great Barrier Island), Hauturu bursts out of the ocean; its knife-edged ridges rising to 2,370 ft at the summit of Mt Hauturu. The 3,038 ha island, fringed by an almost continuous boulder beach except where vertical cliffs plummet into the ocean, is a site steeped in rich Maori cultural tradition and Nationally significant conservation initiatives; and is home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most threatened fauna and flora.

Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) typical coastline landscape

Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) typical coastline landscape

The name Hauturu, was traditionally bestowed by Toi, who arrived in New Zealand from Hawaiki in c. 1150 AD in search of his grandson Whatonga. It was said that the island was uninhabited by “ordinary mankind” but on the misty summits lived the Patu-pai-arehe (fairies), visiting the coastline only at night or in misty weather to fish and collect kai moana (sea food) (Hamilton 1961).

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Coprosma repens (Taupata)

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Coprosma repens (Taupata)

While the thought of night-faring fairies is somewhat hard to believe, there is undoubtedly some truth in the myth…as at night, the island truly becomes alive! Scaly creatures, spiny giants, venomous villains, feathery beasts, and slimy critters emerge and take over the forest floor. However, even so, walking at night requires cautious and vigilant steps, alerted senses, and often quick reactions to catch a glimpse of the island’s inhabitants.

Oligosoma townsi (Town's or Mokohinau skink) - up close and personal

Oligosoma townsi (Town’s or Mokohinau skink) – up close and personal

By day the island is alive with bird song, and in fact, Hauturu harbours the highest number of threatened bird species compared to any other island in the country! Their calls penetrate and echo through the 400-plus species of plants and in particular, the dawn chorus is simply mind-blowing; arguably unmatched by any other site in New Zealand.

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae (tui) juvenile

Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae (tui) juvenile

In January 2014, I was fortunate enough to join a team of conservationists, lead by Auckland Council ecologist Su Sinclair, on a lizard project, aimed at translocating Pacific geckos (Dactylocnemis pacificus) to two Hauraki Gulf Islands undergoing ecological restoration. The following series of photographs represent some of the treasures found on Hauturu during our ten day stay in paradise.

In the realm of Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta)

In the realm of Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta)

Mating Tipulids (unidentified crane flies) - Hauturu bunkhouse in background

Mating Tipulids (unidentified crane flies) – Hauturu bunkhouse in background

Pisonia brunoniana (Parapara; bird-catching tree) - the sticky seed pods frequently 'catch' birds, whose feathers are literally glued to the plant

Pisonia brunoniana (Parapara; bird-catching tree) – the sticky seed pods frequently ‘catch’ birds, whose feathers are literally glued to the plant

Pentatomid on Pittosporum crassifolium (Karo)

Pentatomid on Pittosporum crassifolium (Karo)

Oligosoma aeneum (Copper skink)

Oligosoma aeneum (Copper skink)

Athoracophorus bitentaculatus (Leaf-veined slug)

Athoracophorus bitentaculatus (Leaf-veined slug)

Thelyphassa lineata (Striped lax beetle) (Oedemeridae)

Thelyphassa lineata (Striped lax beetle) (Oedemeridae)

Oligosoma townsii (Towns or Mokohinau skink)

Oligosoma townsii (Towns or Mokohinau skink)

Oligosoma townsii (Towns or Mokohinau skink)

Oligosoma townsii (Towns or Mokohinau skink)

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) - cryptically sun-basking

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) – cryptically sun-basking

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) basking

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) basking

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) juvenile

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) juvenile

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) female in daytime resting position

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) female in daytime resting position

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) feeding - this fellow is part of an island breed-for-release programme.

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) feeding – this fellow is part of an island breed-for-release programme.

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) - this fellow is part of an island breed-for-release programme.

Sphenodon punctatus (Northern tuatara) – this fellow is part of an island breed-for-release programme.

Hauturu coastal forest floor

Hauturu coastal forest floor

Unidentified Brentidae - found inside curled dead Nikau fronds (2-3 mm length)

Unidentified Brentidae – found inside curled dead Nikau fronds (2-3 mm length)

Unidentified Brentidae - found inside curled dead Nikau fronds

Unidentified Brentidae – found inside curled dead Nikau fronds

Cormocephalus rubriceps (Giant centipede) - nether region

Cormocephalus rubriceps (Giant centipede) – nether region

Unidentified cave weta

Unidentified cave weta

Unidentified Archaeognatha (Hexapoda) (Bristletail)

Unidentified Archaeognatha (Hexapoda) (Bristletail)

Unidentified Archaeognatha (Hexapoda) (Bristletail)

Unidentified Archaeognatha (Hexapoda) (Bristletail)

Poecilopachys australasia (Two-spined orb weaver) - an Australian introduction

Poecilopachys australasia (Two-spined orb weaver) – an Australian introduction

Unidentified Tiniedae

Unidentified Tiniedae

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) sub-adult on Pohutukawa

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) sub-adult on Pohutukawa

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko)

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko)

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) - the world's heaviest insect. So heavy, they are unable to jump effectively.

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) – the world’s heaviest insect. So heavy, they are unable to jump effectively.

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) mating. Female above, male below.

Deinacrida heteracantha (Little Barrier Island giant weta) mating. Female above, male below.

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink)

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink)

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) female, cryptically basking between the boulders.

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) female, cryptically basking between the boulders.

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) - populations living in boulder beach habitats on offshore islands are jet black in colour.

Oligosoma smithii (Shore skink) – populations living in boulder beach habitats on offshore islands are jet black in colour.

Gecko team processing lizards from the previous night's catch

Gecko team processing lizards from the previous night’s catch

Chris Wedding showing off a beautifully marked Dactylocnemis pacific us. This little gecko now has a new home on Motuora Island, Hauraki Gulf.

Chris Wedding showing off a beautifully marked Dactylocnemis pacific us. This little gecko now has a new home on Motuora Island, Hauraki Gulf.

Petroica longipes (North Island robin), Mt Hauturu summit

Petroica longipes (North Island robin), Mt Hauturu summit

Trichomanes reniforme (kidney ferns) and mosses of the Mt Hauturu cloud forest

Trichomanes reniforme (kidney ferns) and mosses of the Mt Hauturu cloud forest

Winika cunninghamii (Winika; Pekapeka) on the summit of Mt Hauturu

Winika cunninghamii (Winika; Pekapeka) on the summit of Mt Hauturu

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko)

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko)

Hemidiena thoracica (Tree weta) defence posture

Hemidiena thoracica (Tree weta) defence posture

Nestor meridionalis (North Island Kākā) chicks in their nest…a hollowed out puriri tree (Vitex lucens).

Nestor meridionalis (North Island Kākā) chicks in their nest…a hollowed out puriri tree (Vitex lucens).

Orthoceras strictum (Bird's mouth or Horned orchid) - found in association with gum land habitats.

Orthoceras strictum (Bird’s mouth or Horned orchid) – found in association with gum land habitats.

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) - gravid female

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) – gravid female

Uliodon sp. (Vagrant spider)

Uliodon sp. (Vagrant spider)

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Sicyos australis (Mawhai; Native cucumber) along the boulder beach

Sicyos australis (Mawhai; Native cucumber) along the boulder beach

Sicyos australis (Mawhai; Native cucumber) flower

Sicyos australis (Mawhai; Native cucumber) flower

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Dactylocnemis pacificus (Pacific gecko) on Astelia sp. flower

Advertisements

7 thoughts on ““The Wind’s Resting Place” – Hauturu (Little Barrier Island) 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s