This site contains information about the human and  natural history of Great Barrier Island. 
Great Barrier Island, the largest island off the coast of New Zealand's North Island and the outermost island of the Hauraki Gulf, is comparatively undeveloped and free from many of the animal pests that have taken their toll elsewhere in New Zealand.
The following pages provide information that may have been found since the revised editions of the book 'Great Barrier Island' was published in 2004 and again in 2011. The information provided here may be new, provide some interesting new angle or be a correction. No matter what it is, having the book handy as well will enable you to really get to know the island.

I am searching for a painting by George Stanfield Walters in 1883 of the barque STIRLINGSHIRE built at Great Barrier Island in the 1840s. Please go here if you know anything:



'True Tales of...' books capturing a communities short stories and images has become very popular, and is spreading rapidly throughout New Zealand. Great Barrier Island is currently under way with its third 'True Tales of Great Barrier Island' book. We seem to have hit the sweet spot with the books format. It's brilliant and any community can do their own. Here is how any small community can go about getting their own 'True Tales' book under way: 


Contact me:

The short address for this site is
Great Barrier Island - The Book
edited by Don Armitage, foreword by Sir Peter Blake. This guidebook describes Great Barrier Island - its history and natural features, including flora, fauna, habitats and endangered species, both terrestrial and marine. Profusely illustrated in colour, and with maps and sketches, this is an essential resource for all visitors.
(7000+ copies of this popular book have been sold up to 2016- By New Zealand standards that makes it a best-seller).

Reprinted with minor amendments 2011.

Click here for more information, or order the book from the publisher, Canterbury University Press.

New painting of HMS Coromandel by Roger Morris (commissioned by Don Armitage) 
Click on image to enlarge.

 Great Barrier Island in 3-D

This bronze model of the island should help you visualise many aspects of the island explored in words, maps, drawings and photos on this site and in the book ‘Great Barrier Island’. The scale is 1 km per 1cm at A3 size.



  click on image to enlarge










This publication is A5 and 36 pages.
It explores the life of Captain John Gillies
who was a master mariner, shipbuilder,
timber merchant and harbourmaster.
He had a big influence on Great Barrier
Island 1846-9 and is of vital interest when considering the early history of the island.