Aroha Island History

1867 – Island assigned a European title by Crown Grant to Tango Hikawai.
Since 1867 – three people related to the Edmonds family of Inlet Road are buried on the island.
1964 – Aroha no longer a true island.   Island owner, William Otene Cook, built a causeway across the tidal mangroves.
The Little Years
1971 – Dr Colin Little purchased Aroha with his wife Margaret.
1974 – Dr Colin and Margaret Little settle on the island.
1984 – An Open Space Covenant to protect the island was signed by Dr Little and QEII National Trust.
1991 – Dr Little sold to QEII.

QEII National Trust Years

1991 – house tenanted by Fenton Hamlin who set to work on the maintenance of the island carrying out work to the house and removing some of the very old wattles and wild peach trees.   He also re-established the lawn areas.
Another tenant, the McGlashan family, moved in.   They received a rent free house in return for creating the walking track around the island and maintaining the lawns.

Soon after, Stuart and Alison Chambers moved in.   Their brief was to set up an ecological centre, restore the old shed (now “The Cottage”), carry out maintenance on the house (now “The Lodge”), and provide toilets for campers.
In 1995, with funds from a Lottery Grant, QEII Trust established an ecological centre.
November 1996 – Aroha was opened to the public.
In 1997, Gay and Greg Blunden took over the management.   Their main focus was on the eradication of weeds, rats and possums, and re-vegetating vast areas.
Late 2006, QEII Trust announced its intention to manage the Island on a commercial lease basis. A tender process occurred with a deadline for tenders on 28 February 2007.


February 2007 – Aroha Island Community Committee was formed to submit a tender.
20 September 2007 – QEII made an offer of a 5 year lease with a 5 year right of renewal.
9 October 2007 – Aroha Island Charitable Trust was incorporated.
16 December 2007, Aroha Island was re-opened.
In July 2009, a 5 year lease with three 5 year rights of renewal was finally signed.
In 2009, the Aroha Island Charitable Trust was awarded the premier TrustPower Community Award.
In May 2010, Aroha Island Lodge awarded a 4 Star Qualmark Holiday Home rating.