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Burgess Island - passive restoration in action

Burgess Island (within the Mokohinau group) was largely cleared of vegetation when the lighthouse was built in 1883. Ninety years later (in 1973) goats were removed from the island by the Wildlife Service, and in 1990 kiore were removed by the Department of Conservation during the first planned rodent eradication in the world to use aerial bait application.

The island was left to recover naturally and 27 years on the island supports seven species of burrowing seabirds:

 Grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera gouldi)

 Fluttering shearwater (Puffinus gavia) sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

 Little shearwater (Puffinus assimilis)

 Common diving petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix)

 White-faced storm petrel (Pelagodroma marina)

 Black-winged petrel (Pterodroma nigripennis)

 Little penguin (Eudyptula minor).


Photo: Brent Stephenson

The New Zealand storm petrel (Pealeornis maoriana), Bullerís shearwater (Puffinus bulleri), fairy prion (Pachyptila turtur) and flesh-footed shearwater (Puffinus carneipes) have also been sighted here7.

Lighthouse station (lighthouse and houses) on Burgess Island in 19029 (left) and now (right). The Mokohinau light was first lit in June 1883 and was one of the last to be automated with the last keepers withdrawn in 1980. In 1996, the original light was removed and replaced by a rotating beacon within the original tower10.