Welcome ~ Nau Mai Haere Mai
“Wind rocks this little land, Anchored between sky and sea,
Paused in the drift of time, Cradle of possibility.”
Whether you’re a local Dunedinite looking over the Harbour to the Island or a first time visitor; a school class, youth group or church planning your camp or retreat, someone who loves heritage and ecological restoration or a family looking for a lovely place to relax with the kids… an island is always wonderful to visit. We think you will find Quarantine Island especially so, for it is far more than a coastal wildlife reserve, a camp, a farm or historic site.
Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua sits in the centre of Otago Harbour, a remnant of the ancient Dunedin volcano. In its bush clad, pre-European times it was used by southern Māori as a fishing camp. From the 1860s to 1924, as the Otago Quarantine Station, it became the first pause ashore for many thousands of settlers enroute to their new lives.
Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua is a Recreation Reserve and Heritage Site, jointly managed by the Department of Conservation and St Martin Island Community to protect its history and nurture its diverse ecology.
People come here to research, volunteer, learn hands-on ecology, plan for social justice and environmental change; to seek solitude, companionship, spiritual rejuvenation, to share celebrations – and to have fun! Day visitors often kayak or boat over. Many groups use the Lodge year round for school camps, retreats and family get-togethers.
We keep the last weekend of each month available for our shared open weekends – especially suited for individuals and families wanting to enjoy a night over! Several times a year we also host Open Days with groups such as the Dunedin heritage society and Cadburys.
Now, and for over 50 years, the St Martin Island Community have been the caring, passionate kaitiaki / guardians of this wind-swept but very special little island on Otago Harbour, in partnership with the Department of Conservation. Open weekends are held monthly, with a workday usually on the last Saturday of the month.where everyone is welcome to join us in sharing food, working the land, laughing and relaxing in this rural, wilderness escape just a stone’s throw from the city
The Community employs the resident Keepers, owns and maintains all the buildings including the historic Quarantine building, runs the farm and restoration projects, and has the pleasure of welcoming thousands of visitors each year.
We truly value our Partner organisations – the Department of Conservation and many others such as Heritage New Zealand, Forest and Bird, the Otago University Marine Studies Centre, Enviroschools, Kiwi Conservation Club, the Dunedin Amenities Society and many others. What’s more like every charitable group, we are very grateful that the financial support from various funding bodies helps us to do what we do.
“Every city needs an island.” James Matheson, co-founder of St Martin Island Community.
to visit …