Aroha Island held another successful AGM ont he 23rd of August, thank you to all involved and those who attended the meeting it is great to have support. Below is the chairperson’s report from the AGM:


It has been a busy year with a few ups and downs, but looking good for the future.


The year started with our 2013 managers Tim and Helen coming up with a whole bunch of ideas for Aroha, then walking the new committee through the buildings and grounds. Thanks Tim and Helen for all your hard work and enthusiasm.


Our replacement managers Hayden and Laura have been a great find for Aroha. Both are tertiary trained in ecology and practical to boot. Hayden has sound practical and leadership skills. Laura is a good administrator and organiser.


We are conscious that our managers need time off to recharge. We have had excellent relief managers. First Rodney and Rawinea who were invaluable over the summer busy season. Rodney has continued on at Aroha helping with maintenance and daily tasks.


Evan and Lynda from DOC in Kaitaia so liked Aroha when they stayed, that they are coming for a weekend once a month to relieve Hayden and Laura.


Bruce and Marguerita have their own camper van and so far have helped in two stints and will be coming back from late November to February next year. They are ex orchardists and camp ground operators, and it shows in their practical skills and their quick adaption to the Aroha environment.


The following, are some of the projects undertaken at Aroha this year:


  • Removal of large cryptomeria trees that were dominating the area behind the shade sail.   Jeremy and Hayden ran this project.

We mulched the branches and used the mulch for the 600 native trees planted in 2013 and the 500 planted in 2014. Hayden has peeled and covered the logs in preparation for carving.   It is planned to run a carving school and carve signs and features for Aroha.


  • The dry summer reinforced the need for more water storage rather than depending on town water delivered.   Three new tanks installed – total 65,000 litres, bringing total storage to 175,000 litres.   Thanks to Pub Charity for funding the tank cost.


  • We decided our gardens around the Lodge and the Cottages needed a revamp.   Thanks to Glen from Tuatara Landscapes who provided his time and ideas free of charge.   Great bunch of volunteers turned up on a Saturday and got all the gardens planted and mulched.   As well, Hayden led a team that planted and mulched the native trees mainly in the ex cryptomeria area.   Thanks to QE11 for providing funding for the trees.


  • Volunteers and woofers painted the Lodge/Centre roof.   A small area remains to be painted once the weather improves.


  • Wade and Yvonne are leading a project to revamp the Lodge.   Currently the three bedrooms are being redecorated.
  • QE11 has provided funds to upgrade the switch board as we have out-grown the current one.
  • Our school visits and education days have continued.   Tiwai’s weaving classes have been a real success, using Aroha grown flax.   Jeremy, Kerry, Tiwai and beekeeper Mark have been invaluable in keeping school children fascinated with stories of kiwis, bees, the coast and bush, and Maori attachment to Aroha.


A special mention to David Hill (and Mavis) our original managers who did three summer terms.   David prepares and edits Aroha’s magazine from 19,000km away in southern England.   A fascinating read.   See our web site for copy.


QE11 held their May board and covenanters meeting at Aroha.   A beautiful fine afternoon, with Hayden and Laura turning on the hospitality.   Chairperson James Guild and CEO Mike Gibson congratulated the Trust on providing a successful example of a community environmental project.


Finally, a big thanks to our Trustees and committee members for their help throughout the year.


Special thanks to our retiring trustees Inge, Rolf and Jeremy.


Inge has been our treasurer right from the start.   It is fair to say she has been a big part of Aroha’s success.   Rolf has been there for Aroha and has supported Inge every step of the way.


Jeremy has been a mine of knowledge and enthusiasm.   He set up the bees, led the tree planting project, and most of all, helped with education, especially on school visits.


Thanks to Wade on being a good keen secretary who is bursting with ideas and always makes sure things get done properly.


Thanks to Yvonne and Tiwai for providing leadership when it was really needed and thanks also to Terry, Adrianne and Helen Ough Dealy for their input.


Howard Smith


Tui Cottage – Refurbished 2014

With a new Queen Bed and fresh new decoration, our Tui Cottage would make the perfect hideaway for a relaxing break at Aroha Island. Nestled in the bush and close to all the birds it is a beautiful setting to relax and enjoy island time.  Picture yourself dining on the deck or just relaxing in the garden and listening and watching the birds.  You will be right near the walking track for going and looking for kiwi at night, or why not book a guided kiwi walk for $40 per person.

We offer a 2 person rate, but the cottage will accommodate up to 6 people with bunks and a single (additional single for 6 by prior request).

Tui Cottage Jan 2014 Tui Oct 2013 (1)

Tui January 2014

“Just4U” – Create gifts using flax – Workshop held on 30th November, 2013

We were delighted to host a flax weaving workshop at Aroha Island Eco Centre on Saturday 30th November, 2013.

This successful event ran over 4 hours and the attendees were guided by tutors and experienced weavers to create 4 unique gifts using flax.  

Tamata – Placemat
Putiputi – Flowers
Rock Art & Net
Kono – Bowl, pop up Kete

Workshops ran for 1 hour each with rotation.

The cost was $40 per person, payable in advance.

If you would be interested in attending a future flax weaving workshop please email  We will then be in contact when a date is arranged. 


Aroha now producing Electricity from the Sun

Solar Panels at Aroha Island

Solar Panels at Aroha IslandWe have been heating our water from solar power for some while, but an exciting development this week was the switching on of the new meters which enable us to generate our power from the 26 solar panels now installed in the visitor centre roof.  A big thank you to ASB Community Trust for the funding provided to enable us to undertake this project.  We shall continue to conserve our power and hopefully be able to sell some back to the grid.

Tree Planting Project

With a grant from Pub Charities we have been able to purchase 500+ trees.  The project is to enhance the number and variety of native trees and at the same time encourage more birds to Aroha Island.

The first big job was collecting all the trees from Plant Production.  Thanks to our trustees Anne and Dr Jeremy Gibb and also Sue and Wade Rowsell who spent a very wet Sunday bringing them to the Island.

Time has been spent planning the best place for each of the trees to give them the best chance to mature and thrive.

The first trees were planted by our volunteers on Monday 4th June, and we have a new kauri grove near to the largest existing Kauri Tree on the island. The planting was completed in the third week in June.  Thank you to all the volunteers who made this possible.

The kiwi are enjoying the tree planting too, as there is plenty of loose soil for them and we have lots of new probe holes in the area.

A full report is available for those who are interested and is under the Eco Centre section on the web site.

History of Aroha Island

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.