General News Page

March 2017 Stewart Island News 


Experiencing The "Wild Kiwi Encounter"


We had a unique Christmas Eve in 2016. Lindy and I went on the 'Wild Kiwi Encounter" experience.

 What a great 5 hours from 8pm to 1am.

 We started with a short but very informative presentation on the Rakiura Toekoeka (translation - Weka with a walking stick) then onto Real Journeys Foveaux Express with a dozen other people. Spent an hour and a half about 6 k offshore at Flat Rock, Bench Island, and Whero where we saw: Rafts of titi, dolphin,blue penguin, Albatros,yellow eyed penguin, skua, fur seals, Foveaux Shags, all with a knowledgeable  commentary, and from the comfort of the well appointed catarmaran.

 From there we cruised into Patterson Inlet past the Neck "Oneki" and Ulva Island and up to the Bravo Islands, all with a well delivered and non intrusive commentary. By about 9.45 we were at Little Glory wharf and given a briefing on the etiquette of moving in a group, keeping quiet and  use of the torches we were supplied, safety, (especially if we encountered sea lion in the bush or beach), what to do in an emergency. Then we were off to find Kiwi. Saw the first up close and personal 5 minutes along the extremely well cut, dry easy walking track. After 10 minutes or so after all of the party of 13 had a good look, we moved on to Ocean Beach, about 20 minutes walk through the bush. We walked the beach along the waters edge with torches off ( amazing how light it is even on a cloudy night) as our guide scanned the beach and bush line for more Kiwi. We left the beach which was almost devoid of kelp ( Kiwi eat the sand hoppers that live under the beached kelp) and entered true bush on a short track to another beach. Second Kiwi encounter right on the track, this time as we all stood silently in the dark, this Kiwi walked right along past us all about a metre away, stopping to peck at our guide's boots, and then wandered off into the bush, all the time probing the ground and searching for food with its beak. We walked through to another beach on the inlet side, but cold and exposed, so retreated back down the track towards Ocean beach again- third Kiwi encounter about 5 minutes along the track. Again we all stopped and had a good look in the light of the guide's torch then headed back onto Ocean Beach and onto the track back to the waiting boat. I was at the head of the group with the guide at this stage, and as we neared the wharf , we had a 4th brief encounter but only the guide and I saw this one as it was off the track  a bit and heading away from us.


Also saw 5 possums on the track, and a program to begin regular control of these pests will be starting as soon as the new humane self setting traps arrive.


All in all, a very well organised and presented experience, with our crew Glenda, Ian and 'Percy' which delivered all I expected and more.


I am a fifth generation Stewart Islander, and this night was a highlight in my 60 odd years of connection with my homeland.


To all who haven't had this experience, do it! To those who I have spoken to who had doubts or misgivings about this operation, hold your tongues until you have been on this particular version of Kiwi connection. Thank you Phillip Smith for the treasure you built up over the past 26 years. This is an experience worthy of being proud of, and the land, the track , the Kiwis and the tourists are in good hands!


Simon Gomez


Rakiura Maori Lands Trust



RMLT & Real Journeys to run Wild Kiwi Encounter on Rakiura/Stewart Island






Some Snippets from last Century, from Peter Belsham.


Many years ago we used to live at port Pegasus my father the late Many Belsham and his brother the late Sudie Belsham used to run the fish shed operation at Port Pegasus. The boats used to day fish out of Pegasus and we lived up above the factory I was only a young boy at the time but what a glorious experience. I have photos of the fish shed and boats and the skippers


Bell Topper falls used to supply our power and fresh water the late May and Bruce Neilson had a house there as well as the late Pottie Bailey.  There were other houses there but I can’t remember now who lived in them.  


My job was to run along the wharf thowing stones down the foc’sl’s to wake the fisherman up that bought out some choice language.


One will never ever forget living down there the oysters were plentiful as well as flounders it’s a shame to see just a wee bit of concrete left where the wharf used to be.


I also  saw the biggest octopus underneath the wharf which darted off in a shower of black boy . It  took up the whole bottom under the wharf.


There was a old fellow called Charlie Young, (I think his name was) and he used to make toffee and lived at the end of the track from the fish shed the last house the smell of it cooking used to waft  through the trees I always visited when I smelt the toffee.


 Excitement one day was when one of the fishing boats came into the wharf to unload his fish and was towing some German oil drums found out to sea from Pegasus. That's when they had proof that the German raiders were working from Auckland lslands.


Some of the fisherman’s names were the late Maxy Skipper the late Rex and Doug Bradshaw and their father – (I forget his name) Stevie with a wooden leg  and Johnny Waitarie I think his name was and numerous others that I can’t put names to.


We didn't have far to go to the Titi lslands as they were just around the corner from Pegasus on the west side. Our lsland was called Rerewhakoupuka or Solomons  The lslands were a majestic place


After we left port Pegasus we used to leave for the lsland’s from Colac Bay.


Irene Elien Wybrow 


Irene Wybrow


It is with much sadness that the Rakiura Maori Lands Trust Trustees inform you that our oldest Lords River beneficial land owner Mrs Irene Elien Wybrow, formerly Stronach has passed away on July 6th in her 100th year.

She was a very active owner and attended every AGM, including last year. 

A wonderful woman who will be missed by all who knew her.


All messages to 12 Wayland St Gore 9710




January 4th 2016

Message from an RMLT beneficial Land Owner from the Kaika Hut. (Beneficial Land Owners can use RMLT Hunting Huts for recreational purposes outside the Hunting Season). Book through the Hunting page. No Charge for the Hut but you might be asked to carry out some maintenance.  Some conditions apply (see conditions on the Hunting Page) and transport to and from the huts is the responsibility of person(s) making the booking.

"Hi Simon we went for our holiday at the Kaika is absolutely breathtaking down there, we didn't want to come home lol just to let you know everything was good with the hut but there was a mattress missing. Thank you so much to the trust for allowing us to go"

Bec Foggo

Kaika Outside



SIN October and November Issues:





Provisional results of ballot;

Theona Heaslip -  83

Tina Nixon - 87

Jill Skerritt - 115


Lords River Dividend motion carried 78 to 67

Electronic Distribution of AGM Material motion Carried 124 to 44


Provisional Election of Executive Trustees

Chair - Simon Gomez

Secretary - Eliza Snelgar


RWEL Board:

Dick Ryan

Richard Manning


All results and appointments to be confirmed:








Only a week till the RMLT AGM. If you are postal or proxy voting, these need to be with Ashton Wheelans by 11am Friday October 2nd. Have your say and vote for your Trustees and the vote able agenda items.


2015 Annual Report Click Below


12/9/2015  Health and Safety Notice

In light of changes to the Health and safety act,

Rakuria Maori Lands Trust trustees have taken measures to prevent unauthorized hunting at The Neck.

Four no hunting signs have been erected at various access points throughout the neck to inform people

that no hunting is permitted without prior authorisation from Rakiura Maori Lands Trust. 

Neck Sign


To get your password for access to the AGM and Beneficial  Landowners page, please email, providing you name, email address and your RMLT registration number. Your password will be emailed by return.

Media Release

5th August 2015

Rakiura Maori Lands Trust and Real Journeys join forces to grow Rakiura (Stewart Island) Tourism

Rakiura Maori Lands Trust and Real Journeys are looking for new tourism opportunities, following  a partnership agreement to help grow world class visitor experiences on Rakiura - Stewart Island.

The Rakiura Maori Lands Trust and it beneficiaries have a long history in the area and are the largest private land owner on New Zealand's third largest island. Real Journeys has over 60 years' tourism experience and operates ferries to the island, Stewart Island Lodge and various tours.

The agreement will see the organisation work together to develop joint commercial opportunities on a profit sharing basis.

Dick Ryan, RMLT Chair, says that the respective strengths and values of both parties work very well together and should result in some exciting new visitor experiences. " we have spent the last few months working on our long term strategy and we are now at the stage where we are actively looking for the right opportunities" says Dick. Kiwi-spotting on The Neck, land owned by RMLT, is one option that is being considered.

Richard Lauder, Real Journeys Chief Executive, says the company is delighted to partner with the Rakiura Maori Lands Trust. " We regard the natural beauty of Stewart Island as an area of growth for tourism and are keen to find more reasons for people to visit and stay longer. This is something that will benefit the whole of Stewart Island".

The agreement is the result of many years' discussion and is expected to be a long-term relationship.

For further information please contact:

Richard Manning 021382590 or Tsehai Tiffin 021 523 899





Trustees meeting  

The next meeting of the RMLT Trustees will be held on August 29th. Business to be discussed includes, Governance and the AGM.



Date:  4th October 2015
Time:  11.00AM to 3PM                     
Venue: Awarua Marae, 12 Bradshaw Street, Bluff.
Registration commences: 10.00AM


Nomination for Election of Trustees and request for agenda items close on August 20th 2015.


Forms for both are attached here: RMLT-Mailout-1-July-2015-just-forms.pdf





RMLT Trustees meeting, 22nd to 24th May

The Rakiura Maori Lands trustees met for the weekend in Christchurch May 22,23,24.

The meeting covered a review of the Trust document, expression of interest in un-used assets, the 2015 AGM, land management, investments and forward planning.

One of our Trustees, Eliza Snelgar summed the meeting up "apologies again having to leave our hui early but left happy our waka is heading forward with us all rowing in the same direction".

A sentiment echoed by all trustees in comments at the conclusion of the meeting.



Predator Free Rakiura Project

Leon Fife provided this snapshot of his work with the Predator Free Rakiura group.

In 2012 Gareth Morgan approached DOC and suggested that the possibility of making Rakiura and surrounding islands predator free be explored. The possibility of Predator Free Rakiura – a concept that has repeatedly been strongly supported by public submissions to successive Conservation Management Strategies that the government has conducted – was one that excited his interest and he decided to see whether it could be done, and if so how. The result of Gareth’s discussions with DOC was the establishment of a governance group under the banner of, “Predator Free Rakiura”.

Representatives from the following groups were invited to participate along with DOC and the Gareth Morgan Foundation (Gareth’s philanthropic trust which is involved in a number of conservation and social development investments in New Zealand and internationally):

. the Stewart Island resident community.

. hunting and fishing interests.

. local Iwi, including representatives form the Titi Islands committee.

. Rakiura Maori Lands Trust.

. Real Journeys.

.Southland District Council

. Environment Southland.

The group has met several times since its formation and for an update on progress so far you should follow the following link:

RMLT has been represented by Trustee, Leon Fife. If you have any questions about the project you are invited to contact him:


April 2015 Stewart Island News (SIN)

click SIN-Apr15.pdf


The Neck Restoration Project








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 Beneficial Landowners are encouraged to ensure they have a registered email in order to be able to be given a password for access the landowners page for keeping up to date with progress.

This can be achieved by emailing with REGISTER MY EMAIL in the subject field and your name address and registered number in the body of the message.