top of page

The greatest little sanctuary in the world

Glenfern Sanctuary is an 83-hectare Regional Park, and along with three neighbouring properties on the 240-hectare  Kotuku Peninsula, sits behind a 2km-long pest-proof fence. It forms a conservation precinct in the northern part of Aotea Great Barrier Island, about 100km north-east of the Auckland CBD.

The Glenfern Sanctuary Trust with Ngati Rehua Ngatiwai ki Aotea nga mana whenua o Aotea Trust are committed to the principles of Kaitiakitanga; guardianship and protection of our endangered flora and fauna and their habitats.

The late Tony Bouzaid, a conservationist and yachtsman, established the Sanctuary in 1992. It became a Regional Park in 2016.

Glenfern Regional Parkland is free for all to visit. Visitors can explore and learn about our conservation and environmental programmes and we welcome visitors to stay in the historic Fitzroy House and Glenfern Cottage, unique holiday accommodation on Aotea.

We are open seven days sunrise to sunset.

Glenfern Sanctuary and Accommodation

Glenfern Sanctuary is open free to the public daily. Hear the birdsong and experience some of Aotea’s most endangered species on our 2km loop track through pristine native bush.


Tony Bouzaid (1940-2011)

Screenshot 2021-12-09 at 20.08.19.png

It has been 10 years this October since Tony Bouzaid’s passing. In 1990 when he and his wife Mal bought Glenfern, Tony set out to create a safe haven for the native species that lived here. 10 years on and the legacy of Tony and many others who have put their hearts into this place continues. There are plenty of friends and family on and off island who were, and continue to be involved with Glenfern. Thank you for believing in his vision.

The story goes that he had come to Aotea regularly as a child, and as an adult he was devastated at the silence that had once been bird song. His passion is the driver that has resulted in a permanent treasure that is now a nature sanctuary open to the public as a Regional Park.


Our purpose

Glenfern is a Great Little Sanctuary, essential for our local and wider community as a hub for environmental and sustainability activities including education immersion experiences. It is a must-see destination for all visitors to Aotea/Great Barrier Island, providing an exemplary experience of environmental and sustainability best practice.

In accordance with the Glenfern Sanctuary Trust Deed, the Trust’s purposes are;

a) to manage, develop and enhance Glenfern Sanctuary;

b) to provide financial support for the Glenfern Sanctuary;

c) to maintain and enhance the quality of the natural environment of Glenfern Sanctuary, including the quality of ecosystems at Glenfern Sanctuary that support biodiversity;

d) to implement environmental and conservation programmes at the Glenfern Sanctuary including programmes to protect endangered flora and fauna and their habitat;

e) to manage public access to the Glenfern Sanctuary and its educational and recreational use and the accommodation and other facilities on Glenfern Sanctuary on behalf of Auckland Council;

f) to collaborate with the Kotuku Peninsula landowners and the Kotuku Peninsula Charitable Trust to protect and enhance the wider sanctuary on the Kotuku Peninsula;

g) to assist with the protection and restoration of species and ecosystems endemic to Great Barrier Island, through provision of expertise and support to other conservation programmes on Great Barrier Island;and


h) for other purposes within New Zealand (whether environmental or conservation related or any other matter beneficial to the community) which are charitable according to the law of New Zealand.



Our taonga

Aotea is home to number of threatened and endemic species from sea birds to native skinks. Our aim at Glenfern Sanctuary is to provide these species with a safe habitat for breeding and to create an environment that allows all native species to flourish.

Takoketai (black petrel) are sea birds that breed only on Aotea, these birds return every summer to their burrows for nesting. Threats for these birds include loss of habitat, predation and also fisheries by-catch. We have a number of active black petrel burrows at Glenfern Sanctuary, as well as resident Cooks' petrel, fluttering shearwaters and blue penguin.
Pāteke (Brown Teal), were once common throughout New Zealand but are now limited to just three main locations, with the largest population on Aotea. We have a dedicated wetland restoration project at Glenfern Sanctuary to provide suitable breeding habitat for these birds.

Chevron Skink, are New Zealand's largest and rarest skink, found only on Aotea. These skinks can grow up to 30 cm long. We have a known population at Glenfern Sanctuary, making predator control all the more important.

The data

Aotea has no possums, mustelids, hedgehogs or norway rats, so comparatively we have a much easier job than many mainland locations in managing our biosecurity network. Our focus is keeping ship rats and kiore to near undetectable levels, and preventing any incursions that could pose a threat to our breeding populations of native species.


To acheive this there are more than 40 km of trap lines and over 800 active traps across the peninsula, with rat numbers monitored across the sanctuary seven times a year. We use the latest technology to manage and record all our trapping and monitoring data for biosecurity and biodiversity work. Using this technology allows us to see at a glance where the rats are and adaptively manage specific areas.


For any conservation project data, and data over time is one of the most valuable tools.We also use remote monitoring trap sensors from EconodeNZ in targeting feral cats across the peninsula. These sensors let us know via email when a cat trap has gone off, making our trapping efforts even more efficient. This is particularly important during summer when our precious seabirds return to their burrows for nesting.

You can stay within a bird sanctuary, stand on the crown of a kauri, explore our native sanctuary, experience walking the trails, or simply chill  out.

bottom of page