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Access to Matiu/Somes Island restricted

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Somes Island

The new wharf is intended to last for up to 100 years. Photo: Michael Coghlan | Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

Access to Matiu/Somes Island in Wellington will be restricted from 19 February 2024 to allow for the 85-year-old wharf to be rebuilt, Department of Conservation (DOC) said.

The wharf was built in 1938, and the new wharf is intended to last for up to 100 years.

The work is expected to take between six and eight months, during which time the island will be inaccessible to the public. The island is planned to be open to the public again by spring 2024, although, factors such as weather may influence this timeframe, DOC said.

The Kaitiaki Board, who govern the island, have identified replacing the wharf as critical work to ensure ongoing access for mana whenua and the public into the future.

Te Whatanui Winiata, chair of the Kaitiaki Board, said while the public will have no access to the island for the duration of the rebuild, the important conservation work on the island will continue.

“The kaitiakitanga of the island is paramount, where the island remains pest-free and power systems and houses are maintained,” said Te Whatanui.

“We’re looking forward to a brand-new wharf, which will ensure Matiu is accessible for all uri, kaitiaki, and visitors in the future.”

The island will remain accessible to visitors until 19 February. DOC will keep the current wharf operational for as long as possible, until the demolition of the old wharf for the new one.

Matiu/Somes Island is a predator-free scientific reserve. It is also a historic reserve with a rich multicultural history.

The island is owned by local iwi (Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika) It is governed by a Kaitiaki Board and managed by DOC.

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