Ponui is a privately owned island located to the southeast of Waiheke Island. It also goes by the name of Chamberlin's Island as it has been farmed by the Chamberlin family since 1853. There are now three farms on the island - two managed by the Chamberlin family and one by a rich bloke by the name of John Spencer. There are around 9 permanent human inhabitants on the island who are associated with the farms, along with the famous feral Ponui donkeys and endangered brown kiwi birds.
|Photo courtesy of Peter & Marion van Djik and the New Zealand Donkey & Mule Society|
If donkeys aren't really your thing, you might be more interested in the brown kiwi birds. 13 birds were released on the island in 1964 by the old New Zealand Wildlife Service. These original 13 birds came from Little Barrier Island, Waipoua in Northland and Coromandel. The birds must have really liked Ponui because there are now an estimated 1,500 of them on the island which makes up 6% of New Zealand's entire endangered brown kiwi bird population. They are doing so well, in fact, that they are reaching the maximum level of the natural carrying capacity of the island. If you're interested in finding out more about the Ponui kiwi birds, check out this article here. Alternatively, you can skip the article and look at a picture of the kiwi bird instead.
|Via Department of Conservation website|
This island is a popular location for youth camps, however, private boaties cannot land without the permission of the owners. So instead you might want to get out your binoculars and have a look from the cockpit for the feral donkeys and brown kiwis while having a glass of the local Ponui wine.
If you're interested in other posts in the "Hauraki Gulf Cruising Notes" series, check out this page.
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