Aotea Great Barrier Island is a remote and beautiful island with a diverse, resilient and independent community characterised by heart and grit. It is made up of Ngāti Rehua Ngatiwai ki Aotea people, Māori, pioneer families, hippy settlers, new residents, summer bach owners and descendants of all these groups. In the census of 2017 there were 939 permanent residents recorded along with many part-time residents in second homes.
We have no reticulated water, power, or public transport, running our own power, water, septic, and drainage systems. We value and protect our way of life. We face unique challenges and are proud of our can-do attitude and innovative approach to living on our island paradise.
Our median age is 54 years; 70 percent of us own our houses and 44 percent of us live alone. We are bi cultural with 90 percent identifying as European and 18 percent as Māori. The median full-time household income is $31,100 per annum, considerably lower than the regional median of $76,500, and lowest across all Auckland’s local boards.
We have three primary schools with children of secondary school age moving to the city for boarding school or enrolling in Te Kura (correspondence school). Our top industries are
accommodation, food, and construction.
The island sits near the edge of the Hauraki Gulf with its east coast facing out to the Pacific and its west coast facing inwards. Ngāti Rehua Ngatiwai ki Aotea are tangata whenua of Aotea, Hauturu (Little Barrier Island), the Pokohinu Islands (Mokohinau Islands), and other outlying islands and rocky outcrops.
The landscape is mountainous with an abundance of flora and fauna and spectacular coastlines. The Department of Conservation (DoC) has established an Aotea Conservation Park covering nearly 60 percent of the island and there are other sanctuaries including Glenfern, Windy Hill and Motu Kaikoura.
(From the Great Barrier Local Board Plan 2017)