Travel – Mike Yardley: Why Kapiti Island is a must for every Kiwi

It hovers on the coastline like a giant ocean liner, its silhouette resembling an impregnable floating fortress.

Long on my Kiwi bucket-list, I finally took a foray to Kapiti Island on a mild winter’s morning.

Departing from Paraparaumu Airport on the shortest chopper ride of my life, Kapiti Heliworx hoisted me over the water from the mainland to this storied island sanctuary. Waiting to greet me was Manaaki Barrett, the walking, breathing embodiment of manākitanga, who runs the Kapiti Island Nature Tours Lodge.

Kapiti Island’s designation as a nature reserve enjoys an interesting quirk. Twenty hectares of the legendary island remains privately owned by the Barrett whānau — in a family trust — who are dedicated to guarding this bird-lover’s Eden and to preserving their whakapapa.

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