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The Noises - Restoration and Regeneration

The Noises are a chain of islands, rock stacks and reefs, lying within the inner Hauraki Gulf Marine Park / Tīkapa Moana / Te Moananui-ā-Toi. Characterised by indented rocky coastlines, the two larger islands in the group are dominated by pohutukawa forest; rich indigenous vegetation, and native bird species. The Noises have outstanding conservation values and are an important breeding site for seabirds. The human story of the islands starts with a long history of Māori habitation. Currently under the guardianship of the Neureuter family, The Noises also have longstanding connections with naturalists and researchers.

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of multiple generations of the Neureuter family, conservationists and government agencies, all of the islands in the group are predator-free.

Our Research Projects

The Noises have long been a place of research and conservation. Some of the current projects include:


On the main beach of Ōtata Island is a large, historic midden. Sadly, meters of the midden were lost in a large storm in January 2018. The midden provides archeological evidence which can sit alongside the oral histories of mana whenua and the Neureuter family.

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The Hauraki Gulf is home to a threatened population of Spotted Shags, thought to be genetically distinct. Whilst the Spotted Shag is relatively common in other parts of the country, in the Hauraki Gulf the birds are now limited to just two colonies, on Tarahiki and Waiheke Islands, with an estimated population of 300 breeding pairs.

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Geckos are an important component of native ecosystems both as predator and prey, and play a role in plant pollination and seed dispersal. The gecko population from The Noises has been used as a source population for translocations to other islands within the Hauraki Gulf.

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Many marine animals rely on making sound and listening for sound queues as a matter of survival. The University of Auckland have placed a camera on Ōtata Island and a hydrophone in the bay to gather data to determine the impact recreational boat noise is having on the reef systems around The Noises.

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Seabirds of The Noises have been studied for many years. In November 2019, Auckland Council commenced a 10-year study of the takahikare/white-faced storm petrels, pakaha/fluttering shearwaters, kuaka/northern diving petrels, oi/grey-faced storm petrels and korora/little blue penguin on Ruapuke/Maria Island.

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Our long-term vision and desire is to protect, conserve and enhance the islands’ unique character, natural beauty and high ecological value. In addition, we wish to initiate protective measures for the surrounding marine environment.

Rod, Sue and Zoe Neureuter 2017

Latest News and Updates

The unseen benefits of going with the flow

The Moana Project investigates larval dispersal of kūtai (green-lipped mussel). The Moana Project is a five-year Endeavour Fund ocean research initiative funded by The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and its aim is to improve our understanding of…

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Photo By Ryan Darwin

New Zealand’s oldest research institution brings its long-term thinking to The Noises

Nurturing and protecting the whenua is a responsibility many New Zealanders can relate to, particularly with increasing awareness of New Zealand’s Predator Free 2050 goal. However, the challenge we all share now is how to offer our moana that same…

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