Magazine & History Articles

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Feedback and additional information is welcomed. I am unable to provide any further information about the history or the stories. Visit Facebook “Great Barrier Island History Group” for your questions.

‘Huge buzz’ for Great Barrier Island general practice to roll out COVID-19 vaccine to all islanders

June 2021. NZ Doctor publication. Residents vaccinated over a day and a half in an island-wide clinic.


The Challenge to Connect the Remote Corners of New Zealand

February 2021. Russell Brown goes off the grid on Great Barrier Island to see out what it takes to get the local community online and connected.

Tour with locals

Tour with Locals

Sept 2020. The joys of a guided tour with the locals; Benny, of Star Treks forest hikes, and Tony and Carol of Whangaparapara living on their 15m vessel.


Great Barrier Island herbal tonic business

2020 A young entrepreneur from Great Barrier Island is tasting success from his own bitter medicine.

Life on the Road

Life on the Road

Jul 2020. Seasoned RVers Lynne Haines & Bill Mitchell were DOC camp hosts on Great Barrier Island for two months, over the summer, in their 9m home on wheels.


Exploring Great Barrier Island

May 2019. Lisa Jansen escapes far from the madding crowd in her Ford Transit campervan to Great Barrier Island, where relaxation has never been easier.

Eloise Blackwell

Eloise Blackwell – Black Fern

Jan 2018. Small town kid makes good: Isolation no Great Barrier to international success.  The 26-year-old said her earliest memories of growing up on Great Barrier Island, which is home to less than 900 people, is playing “little league”.

Islands Remake

Islands of the Gulf Remake

Feb 2018. A daughter remakes her mother’s iconic TV series.  Gemma Gracewood talks to Elisabeth Easther, the host of new TV One series Islands of the Gulf, in which Easther revisits her mother’s trailblazing documentary series.

Nature of Time

Meaning of Life

Nov 2018 Joanna Wane goes to Great Barrier Island in search of the answer to life, the universe and everything at the Awana Rural Womens Group annual “No Barriers: Small Island, Big Ideas”

Flowers - Resourceful Gardening

Resourceful Gardening

by Nicky Pellegrino 2017. The productive vegetable plot is Linda Jamieson’s favourite place in the garden to spend time working.

Dark Sky Sanctuary

May 2017. Great Barrier Island residents say their clear views of the night skies are worthy of int’l sanctuary status. Being off-grid and with almost zero outdoor lighting, the island avoids the excess light pollution blamed for obliterating night-sky displays across the developed world.

Leonie Adele

We have to live a little apart

May 2017. On Great Barrier Island the nurses are the ‘keepers of secrets’, the witnesses to life, love and death in a small community. “Island Nurses” 2016 is a memoir of over 30 years of caring for generations of residents in a remote, rural island community.

Four-hat double act

August 2017. Great Barrier Island’s two person police force, firefighters, volunteer ambulance drivers and skippers for the local coastguard. And the 2013 big scrubbie that took out about 115 hectares.


Edible Gardening on Great Barrier Island

March 2016. Les and Bev Blackwells are strictly organic gardeners and the Barrier’s isolation means they have to be pretty canny about making the best of what’s available.

Sue Daly

Me & My Garden

September 2016. Sue Daly’s productive straw bale vege patch on Great Barrier Island. Although on remote and sparsely populated island in the Hauraki Gulf, there were no straw bales to be had for love nor money, so Daly used bales of native reeds.

Relax On New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island

November 2016. You know you’re on a remote island when the only pub has a sign that reads, ‘Due to the lack of a bank, change is in short supply. Please use change wherever possible.’ I knew that New Zealand’s Great Barrier Island was going be very different.


Great Barrier Marine Radio

June/July 2001, March 2009, January 2016. The radio service was set up over 50 years ago to keep locals in touch with ferry arrival times. Pratt became involved in the mid-1990s.

You go in and Grab ’em!

February/March 2013. Writer Brown Paraone tells of going out hunting with his nephew, local boy Kahurangi Fraider (14) who had entered the Claris Sports Club pig hunting competition. Kahu won the comp with his boar weighing 59 lbs.

Great Barrier Island – a hidden gem

February 2013. Stuart and Margaret Slade reckon Great Barrier Island is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a motorhoming holiday ‘with an overseas feel’ that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Read an account of the excursion they took.

Petra Bagust

Petra Bagust: ‘Our island is burning’

February 2013. “There’s a feeling of unreality about seeing something like this happen in front of you, when behind you everything is completely normal.

Mothers Nature

November 2010. Community spirit is alive and well on Great Barrier Island, and has brought its women together to disrobe for a worthy cause. The local Playcentre needed a $50,000 renovation, and just like women on another island a Calendar Girls style calendar “Barrier Unhooked” was born.

Kaitoke Beach

A Weekend on Great Barrier

February 2010. The only thing moving in the soft dawn are the birds. Kaka screech, whistle and warble…Tui sing melodically…Kereru swish by…A family of pateke (brown teal) are busy pushing their beaks around boulders for breakfast…

The Great Outdoors

March 2009. The intrepid gardeners of Great Barrier, so many gorgeous gardens, a cornucopia of home grown food to eat.  Wayne McVicar & Linda Power; Caity & Gerald Endt;  Sue & Bruno Reusser; Sven Stellin; Les & Beverley Blackwell

Cafe and patrons

Coming Up Roses

March 2009. Despite how isolated it is this newly opened sustainability-focused cafe continues to flourish, thanks to the locals, writes Kathy Cummings.

Another Country

2008. Great Barrier Island has always been something that other people have done. To me it has always been a vague, hazy, large, looming, slightly purple lump far out in the Hauraki Gulf.
I was going to find out about it for myself.


Weekend Gardener

November/December 2008. Susie Longdell visits Great Barrier Island and finds some enterprising gardeners. Featuring 3 gardens visited in the 2008 garden tour.

Memories: Once Upon an Island

June/July 2008. Jennifer Beck’s account of her memorable visit to Great Barrier Island written in 2004.  Plus ‘People of the Barrier’; Eileen Ngawaka;  Pat Cooper; Les and Beverley Blackwell.

Latitudes & Attitudes

November 2007. Cruising the fringes of the Hauraki Gulf around Great Barrier Island by Meryle Thomson – Yacht Fallado.

Calm Conditions Great Barrier Island – Circumnavigation

2007. Kayaking around Great Barrier the week before Christmas – what better way to avoid the rush.

Focus on Great Barrier Island

QEII National Trust 2006. Protection of the island’s natural character with QEII open space covenants.

A World of Her Own

May 2006. Sue Hoffart meets a Great Barrier resident who has made the most of the island’s special magic, former Auckland city-dweller Judy Gilbert.

Across the Waters

June 2004. Women Living on Great Barrier Island. Kylie Robbins, Police Woman.  Sarah Harrison, Potter. Carol Rendle, Lodge Owner. Helen Mabey, Beach Farm Owner. Jude Gilbert, Conservationist.  Anne Kernohan, Veterinary.

Sea Stoush

2004. Mike White visits an island community badly divided over the DOC proposed gigantic marine reserve along the coast.  It’s become an environmental battleground.

Stepping Back in Time on Great Barrier Island

by Jim Eagles 2004. I needed a project and winemaking seemed like an interesting idea. In 1990 he cleared a small north-facing block of land and started planting grapes.

The Last Frontier

May 2003. Last, loneliest, loveliest, Great Barrier Island is a mystical, mythical place, the last big land mass between Auckland and the vast Pacific.

Pioneering Life on Great Barrier Island

Oct 1997 by Coral Holroyd (nee Eyre). Personal impressions of family life on the island from the 1920s.  Her father purchased a property at Tryphena and as county clerk was involved with much of the development and through his initiatives and skill as a carpenter, built many of the facilities.

A Stitch in Time

Next Magazine 1999. Fabric artist Gina Blanshard lives alone in the remote Wairahi Valley on Great Barrier Island. Her skills as a graphic artist have been in the past, so too her ability to make and sell clothes. Fifteen years ago her interest turned to quilting and she formed a quilting group with other Barrier women.

Grate Barrier

1997. If Auckland City Council were a person, what would its character be?  As Tim Wilson discovers, when the Auditor-General’s office investigates council activities on Great Barrier Island,
it had better take a whip, because it is entering a three-ring circus.

An Island Apart

1991. New Zealand Geographic.  The people of Great Barrier fought isolation and scratched out a hard won livelihood. Fast boats and automatic telephones are threatening to change a diverse community shaped by its past. The introduction of an automatic telephone exchange revolutionised communication.  Although eliminating delays, Bob Whistler, 89, misses the comfort of the party line jangle.

Great Barrier Grief

February 1987. After 20 minutes of ear-crushing roar from two engines just a few metres from our heads, the silence on the ground at the Claris airstrip is just as deafening. A faint breeze rustles the grasses and flax choking the swamp around the green airstrip, but otherwise there is no sound.

Whangaparapara school

Althea Major

(nee Lamond) 1915. In about 1915 we moved to Whangaparapara where my father James Lamond was sole teacher at the school there.

Busch Family of Bushs Beach

1889. Early in 1899 a family and they lived at  Kaiaraara Bay on or near the site of the original sawmill. They were the Bush family, of German extract.

Cooper Family

Elizabeth Cooper (Bert Le Roy’s great-grandmother) is the common ancestor of the Cooper, Paddison and Le Roy families, all of whom were early settlers of Great Barrier Island.

Cooper, Allan Claude

Allan Claude COOPER was born on 10 February 1893. Parents William and Margaret Anne (Annie) Cooper. His father William was an early settler on the island and his mother Annie (nee
Haskiss) from Tuakau in Sth Auckland.

Fred Medland – Fishing Tales

My first fishing trip about 1936 or 1938 when I was 10/11 years old. Tanekaha rods and cotton fishing lines. Our sinkers were odd nuts and bolts, even a spark plug, and if we were keen, old lead heads off roof nails

Gray homestead

Gray Homestead

Timbers of the SS Wiltshire, wrecked on a Great Barrier cliff face in 1922, were used to build the Gray home. After the family moved off island the house fell into a state of disrepair.  Rescued, it has become the museum at the  Community Heritage and Arts Village.

Le Roy, Capt. Emilius, SailMaker

After service with the City Rifles in the Waikato Wars he was awarded a long-service medal two grants of land on the island.  Thus beginning the long connection of his family with the island.

Le Roy A.E.

Writing about the history of the  island in the ‘Historical Societies Journal of the Auckland – Waikato in 1978.

Le Roy Family

Son of Capt. Le Roy who took up farming at Rarohara Bay, married Sarah Jane Cooper and became postmaster at Port FitzRoy.

Ship of Fate

1894. What was on the mind of Captain John McIntosh  the night his ship, SS Wairarapa struck the cliffs of Great Barrier Island with the death of 120. The Wairarapa wrecking is New Zealand’s third worst maritime disaster.  It put the young colony into a state of mourning.

A Pastoral Visit – Rev Baker

1881. From the Journal of the Rev. A. Baker, M.A. (Church Gazette.) March 1881. A beautiful island with Alpine scenery and the air is so exhilarating and pure.

Allen, George Frederic

1862. Sketch of the track leading from Robinson’s Cottage, at the head of Kaiarara Bay to Kiwiriki Bay.

A Trip to GBI in 1932

My eldest brother and I  booked our passage on the old coastal steamer “Claymore” with over 1OO other passengers. On our way across we passed a paddlewheel steamer called the “Lyttelton” which was headed for Auckland with a raft of kauri logs in tow.

Flight of the Albatross – World Premiere

On the 6th July 1996 the World Premiere of the movie ‘Flight of the Albatross’ was held in a large marquee erected in the playing field at Kaitoke School on Great Barrier Island.

Flying with Freddie Ladd 1971

Twenty or so people, a great conglomeration of stuff piled all around a Grumman Widgeon and Freddie Ladd gradually organizes people and their possessions.

Great Barrier Airlines Tourism Booklet 1986

The Great Barrier Island is a new discovery destination. The Island is primitive, there is no electric power supply, diesel generators are used, the roads are one way clay and metal tracks and the manual phone system dates back to the 1930’s. There are magnificent beaches  and very good forestry walks.

Great Barrier Telecommunications

In 1908, when the crew on the ship ‘Tutanekai’ laid a submarine cable from Port Charles to Tryphena, giving Aotea its first telegraph communication with the mainland, little did they realise that this basic link with its archaic system of manually operated switchboards would continue to function until April 1991.

Murder on Great Barrier

1883. In 1883 the debonair Captain Caffrey was engaged to an attractive girl from Great Barrier Island. Within three years the romance was over and a man murdered as a result. Caffrey, debonair and gay, had little trouble in winning Elizabeth’s affections. Their engagement was announced, two years after their first meeting.

Stairway to Heaven

Oct 2020.

Voyage for Peace

Sept 2009.