The greatest little SancTUary in the world


Glenfern Sanctuary as we know it today is an 83 hectare Regional Park, and also the main gateway to the predator fenced 240ha Kotuku Peninsula on the north-western coastline of Aotea/Great Barrier Island.


Founded by former owner and conservationist the late Tony Bouzaid, the property was purchased in mid-2016 by funding from the Nature Heritage Foundation (DOC) and Foundation North together with Auckland Council who officially owns the land.

This purchase was made possible by the hard work of a group of dedicated people, many of whom now comprise Glenfern Sanctuary Trust. 

As a Regional Park Glenfern is one of a kind as its management falls under the responsibility of the trust, not the land owners.

Open daily from 10 am we welcome the public to share this space and enjoy the delights of some of Aotea's most threatened species.

TONY BOUZAID (1940-2011)

Tony and Mal Bouzaid purchased Fitzroy House and what is now known as Glenfern Sanctuary in 1992.

Before they bought the property, the historic Fitzroy House had fallen in to disrepair. Fitzroy House, built in 1901 had been condemned by the Health Department in 1986 and unoccupied for many years.

Tony and Mal put a lot of effort and passion into restoring the house and the land to their former glory.


Tony's passion for conservation is the foundation of Glenfern Sanctuary. 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.



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.




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. 




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 we have over 40 km of trap lines and over 800 active traps across the peninsula, we monitor rat numbers 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.