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Kapiti Island

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Kapiti.jpg
Kapiti Island seen from Waikanae Beach, Kapiti Coast.

Kapiti Island is a small but visually prominent island about 8 km (5 miles) off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is particularly rocky, especially on the seaward side, which has high cliffs. The island's vegetation is dominated by scrub and forests of kohekohe, tawa and kanuka. The island is the site of Kapiti Island Nature Reserve and adjoins the Kapiti Marine Reserve.

Most of it is in public ownership. The conservation potential of the island was seen as early as 1870, and it was reserved as a bird sanctuary in 1897 but it was not until 1987 that the New Zealand Department of Conservation took over the island. In the 1980s and 1990s efforts were made to return the island to a natural state: sheep, possums, and rats were removed, and a number of native birds, including takahe, kokako, brown teal and saddleback were re-introduced. The brown kiwi and little spotted kiwi had been previously released on the island (between 1890 and 1910). The rat eradication has led to increases in red-crowned parakeets, New Zealand robins, bellbirds and saddlebacks, and the island is considered one of New Zealand's most important sites for bird recovery, as well as a major breeding site for sea birds. Due to the proximity of Wellington, there are frequent tourist trips to the island, and is an especially popular destination for birders.

Its name has been used since 1989 as part of the territorial authority that includes it along with towns such as Paraparaumu and Waikanae. See Kapiti Coast District.

External link

DOC: Kapiti Island Nature Reserve  (http://www.doc.govt.nz/Explore/001~Other-Places/008~Wellington/Kapiti-Island-Nature-Reserve/index.asp)

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