Kapiti Island was not always a nature reserve it was colonised and cultivated by the Maoris and in the mid 19th century it was a whaling station. Livestock farming was tried there unsuccessfully it seems because of the terrain and the distance from the mainland. In the process a good bit of the islands ecology was destroyed. In 1897 the Kapiti Island reserve act was passed to “preserve the flora and fauna of New Zealand”. By 1949 a permit was required to enter the reserve. After it was declared a nature reserve in the late 1970s, a concerted effort was made to eradicate all domestic animals, possums and rats from the island after which the native tree species have made a comeback with dense growth all round. An increase in the populations of endemic species of lizards and invertebrates has also been observed.
In the early 1900s many plants and birds were introduced to Kapiti among which were the Spotted Kiwi, the Saddleback bird, Stitch bird, Takahe and Kokako. Visitors will also be able to view birds such as the Kaka or bush parrot, parakeets, the North Island Robin, the Whitehead, the large New Zealand pigeon, North Island Tomtit, the Bell Bird, the Fantail and the Silver Eye. Many of New Zealand’s coastal and lagoon birds are also to be found along the island’s rocky shores.
In addition to being a bird sanctuary, two areas on either side of Kapiti are also marine reserves. Many scuba divers and snorkelers have been rewarded with views of great underwater scenery that include remarkable natural features and a rich variety of marine life such as orange and yellow sponges, star fish, corals, anemones, octopus, reef fish, red mullet blue cod and many more.
To preserve this now regenerated pristine eco system only fifty permits are given a day and only walking tours are available. Overnight stays and private boats are not allowed. Access to the nature reserve is strictly controlled.
Beautiful over water views, well appointed comfortable accommodation and just a short walk away from the CBD and city attractions and activities, Copthorne Hotel Wellington Orient Bay is the ideal location for business and leisure travellers. With amenities and facilities to satisfy guest requirements combined with friendly and efficient service this hotel in Wellington concentrates on providing its guests with a hassle free stay and enjoyable experience as expected of a prominent Wellington New Zealand hotel.