Island Visits to Soar

DoC allowing Kāpiti visits to rise — but will charge more

By Jackie Elliott
(Kāpiti Island guide and Ōtaki Community Board member)

This weekend sees a new era of increased public access to Kāpiti Island.

The Conservation Department (DOC) is  increasing of visitor numbers to 150 per day from the previous 86.

And this will apply for  363 days of the year. 

Previously the limit was 50 day permits for the Nature reserve and 18 for the North End (raised to 36 for the North End last summer).

But on January 31, DOC will cease paying wages for the 2 guides required for daily bio security checks and for accompanying  visitors on the island.

The Online Booking system will also close and DOC’s $11.20 per adult permit levy will rise to $28.75 per head.

As a result of these changes, the cost of a day trip for a family of four is likely to rise from the current $224.00 to over $320.00 just to cover new overheads.

My personal view (and speaking as a guide) is that it is a concern to us all that ordinary Kiwi families may now be unable to afford to visit Kapiti because of the cost — and so they will miss out on this iconic visitor experience on their own doorsteps.


It is interesting to see all these DOC stories popping up locally of late.
Considering DOC has run out of money, will be cutting front line jobs this year and are frantically sourcing corporates to fund the likes of kiwi recovery, rodent extermination etc.
It’s not surprising they will be looking to cash in on the Kapiti asset.
It is unfortunate for the wildlife on Kapiti DOC for the third or fourth year in a row have ignored and not supported local efforts to eradicate the ever increasing numbers of wasps at Kapiti and the offshore islands.
Friends who live on one of the offshore islands are worried this year they will not be able to stay at their island home if the yearly increase in wasps is anything to go by.
Who is responsible for the results of a wasp attack on an island visitor ? especially if those responsible know there is a risk !
With the event of the island Ranger quitting earlier this year, no full time vessel to support island conservation work and a struggling to survive department managing one of our nature icons the future for Kapiti is not looking good in the short term.
Local visitors, kids, families etc that are not resourced to take advantage of the DOC system at Kapiti only really get to experience THEIR local Island through the generosity of the various island whanau or from the sea in private vessels.
How unfortunate there isn’t more government focus on supporting this.
At one point i thought the user pays and income related costing proposed by the government a few years ago might have helped bridge this gap but as most things to do with Govt seem to do this as well went corporate.
Hopefully with the increased focus coming onto Kapiti this year some of these issues and others will be cleared up or at least honestly identified.
Helicopters landing, charter boats from Mana, four times the visitors, unregulated increase in north end numbers, no support vessel, boneseed, wattle, boxthorn, gorse, wasps, no staff ? all contractors ?!, 600,000 on stoats ??!!!, I think there is a good story brewing Alan ! 🙂