Government Ownership


Government activity on Motuihe Island

From 1872 up until the current day Motuihe Island has been owned by the New Zealand Government. This makes Motuihe one of the longest publicly owned reserves in New Zealand. It has been used for a variety of purposes but always remained in government ownership.


On December 24th Purchased from Robert Graham for 2,500 pounds for a quarantine station because a ship with cases of smallpox on board had arrived in Auckland. Officially still a quarantine station up until the time the Navy took over in 1941.

1914 to 1918

World War I Internment camp for the duration of the war. German citizens were kept on the island including the Governor of Samoa. Also used as a prison camp for Count von Luckner and 6 of his crew when they were captured in Fiji.

1929 to 1941

Sunshine Children’s Health Camp

1941 to 1963

HMNZS Tamaki  on the island as part of the coastal defence network around the gulf to protect Auckland from Japanese attack. The New Zealand Navy established a basic training camp on the island after the war.


Navy passed control of the island over to the Domain Board of Auckland Council


Control of the island passed to the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park Board Farmed by Lands and Survey on behalf of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park

Full time ranger M Paul looked after recreation activities and public relations.


Department of Conservation formed and took over the control of the island

Land Corp took over from Lands and Survey


Restoration Trust formed working alongside DOC.



1968: M Paul

1987: Frank Vanderson (went to Motutapu)

1990:  John Allen: When John Allen left in 1990 there was no DOC presence on the island except for a university student over the summer to run the camp.  Ronnie Harrison and Terry ran the island on their own. It was not until Motuihe translocated kiwis in 2009 that DOC placed a ranger permanently on Motuihe.

2008 May/June to 2014 March: John Mills 

Short term rangers after John Mills left: Stefan Sebregts, Paul Taylor, Louise Mack, Susan Thomas,  Dave Grimmer, Paul Puddephatt

Sam Gambling Summer ranger 2009/2010/2012 Full time ranger October 2013 until to February 2015.

2014/2016: Dave Beamish December 2014 to June 2016.. Dave is of Ngai Tai descent. Salary half paid by Restoration Trust

2016 June: Michael Jenkins shared with Motutapu Left June 2017.

2017 October: Zane Goodwin to December 2018

Feb 2018 to June 2018 Brendon Ford Summer Ranger again Dec 2018 to March 2019

2019 March: John Mackenzie and wife Carolyn. John had been a temporary ranger since December 2018

2020 March: Patrick Van Diepen Left 28 October 2022.

2023 April Emma Dunning appointed While Emma was on leave Feyer Sawbridge filled in and left on 7 July 2023.