“The return of the island was significant for us, for not only cultural value, but because it gives us a presence right in the harbour,” says Kura, chairman of the Kaitiaki Board.
“For me personally it’s a place where I can just come relax and contemplate. It’s such a beautiful place to get in touch with the environment.”
Matiu is a 25-minute boat ride, 8km away from Wellington waterfront.
Step off the ferry and you’ll be greeted by a rugged coastline, abundant bird life, hills covered in native plants, and 360-degree views of Aotearoa’s capital city.
Kura, who is also Principal Māori Advisor for Parliament, says Matiu and it’s two neighbouring harbour islands, Mokopuna and Mākaro, were named by Kupe after his daughters or nieces.
Wellington City Council Head of Māori Strategic Relationships Karepa Wall, of Taranaki Whānui, agrees it is a special place, featuring historic pā.