Karewa Island is a small 3.5-hectare island situated approximately 6 km off the coast of Matakana Island and is covered in Taupata forest. The island is administrated by the Department of
It is a pest free wildlife sanctuary, and landing is prohibited without DOC permission.
The island was traditionally a harvest site for Titi (mutton birds) and Kai Moana, which is abundant
on almost all rocky reefs (eg. kina, crayfish). It is now an important breeding area for Northern diving
Petrel (Aug-Feb), flesh-footed Sheerwaters (breeding Nov-May) and Grey-faced Petrels. The island is also home to Fur Seals and is a sanctuary for Tuatara. High densities of Tuatara are dependent on the continued productivity of the surrounding marine ecosystems. The topography of the island is
primarily vertical with slopping bedrock, rocky reef, rock pools, and sandy beaches.
For divers the most intriguing thing about Karewa Island is that in November 1878 the steamer “Taranaki” ran into Island. There are remains of the wreck on the northern side of the island, mainly the body of a large boiler from the ship’s engine.