The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Other Services › Administration of Offshore Islands

Under section 22 of the Local Government Act 2002, the Minister of Local Government is the territorial authority for a number of offshore islands that are not included in the boundaries of an established territorial authority.

The Department of Internal Affairs supports the Minister in fulfilling her responsibilities as the territorial authority for offshore islands.

Only four islands have any significant population and/or permanent buildings and structures.

Motiti Island

Motiti Island is a small settled island off the Bay of Plenty coast with a permanent population mostly engaged in farming.

Moutohorā/Whale Island

Moutohorā/Whale Island is an uninhabited island off the Bay of Plenty coast; the island is a Wildlife Management Reserve, jointly-managed by Ngāti Awa and the Department of Conservation through a joint-committee called Te Tapatoru a Toi.

Tūhua/Mayor Island

Tūhua/Mayor Island is a small, dormant volcanic island situated off the Bay of Plenty coast. The island is owned and managed by the Tūhua Trust Board.

Whakaari/White Island

Uninhabited Whakaari/White Island lies 48km off the Bay of Plenty coast and is the visible tip of a mostly submerged volcano. It is New Zealand’s most active volcano. Although privately owned, White Island became a private scenic reserve in 1953.


For further information regarding the administration of offshore islands, please contact:

Department of Internal Affairs
45 Pipitea Street
Wellington 6011
PO Box 805
Wellington 6140

Freephone: 0800 25 78 87 (New Zealand only)
Phone: +64 4 495 7200