Kapiti Natural Reserve

Kapiti is one of New Zealand’s most valuable nature reserves, and it is the only large island sanctuary for birds between the Hauraki Gulf in the north and New Zealand’s southern outlying islands.


Nature reserves are areas set aside for the protection of native plants and animals, where human influence is kept to a minimum. Every effort is made to minimise the adverse effects of any introduced plants or animals that have managed to establish on the island. Most people never get an opportunity to visit nature reserves because access to them is so difficult.


Kapiti is one of a few relatively accessible island nature reserves. It provides an opportunity for people to observe birds that are either very rare or absent from the mainland, and to see the recovery of vegetation after intensive modification during last century.

Alert/Important notice

Visitors can choose from two destinations, Rangatira or the north end. Both require a visitor access permit from DOC.

Private boats are not permitted to land or anchor at the Nature Reserve.


Kapiti Island lies about 5 km off the west coast of the southern North Island.