Background & Remains of the lodge on Kaikoura Island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf
Kaikoura Island is the seventh largest island in the Hauraki Gulf. 90kms north east of Auckland it is located on the western coast of Great Barrier Island where it forms the natural harbours of Port FitzRoy and Port Abercrombie. At 564ha Kaikoura Island is over twice the size of Tiritiri Matangi (218ha) and more than three times the size of Motuihe (79ha). The island is protected as a Crown-owned reserve and managed by a Trust.
Kaikoura Island is home to the endangered brown teal and the north island kaka as well as many native trees and shrubs. There is access to the island by wharf at the Great Barrier end of the Man O War Passage and at Bradshaw Cove as well as a small airstrip.
In 2004 the Government saved a Hauraki Gulf jewel from falling into foreign hands by buying Kaikoura Island for $10.5 million.
The Government money comes from the Department of Conservation's new "public wildlands programme" designed to protect a wider variety of valuable natural areas.
There was an interest in establishing a possibility of a local Outward Bound Centre on the island or similar educational facilities to fulfill a strong desire that the youth of the region be able to access and to enjoy such a unique outdoor experience".
Geoff Davidson, a spokesman for the forest restoration trust, says the island will become "a sanctuary for all those species that are struggling on Great Barrier".
He says that once the island is free of predators, species such as kiwi and tuatara could be introduced.
The island will be protected as a Crown-owned reserve and managed by a trust representing various interested parties.
DoC will fund the various biosecurity programmes and the trust will raise money for other activities.
The island was bought by locally owned Westy Holdings in 1995 for about $2 million.
It is understood that Westy turned down an offer for $12 million from developers, in favour of the lower Government offer, because of the educational and conservation plans.
On October 7, 2013, Will Scarlett sailed the short distance from his home at Port Fitzroy on Great Barrier Island to the island reserve of Motu Kaikoura, where for seven years he had been the caretaker. He took photographs of the island's main lodge. He stayed the night, to ensure the island was deserted. At 4am he rose, moved the equipment clear of the lodge and damped the ground around. He had chosen a time in early spring where it would still be cold and the dew heavy. Then, using a five-litre can of diesel he had brought with him, he set a fire, and watched the lodge burn down.
The images below show the before and after shots of the arson.