The Motutapu Restoration Trust (MRT) was officially incorporated as a charitable trust on 16th Feb in 1994, and since that time has spear-headed a major restoration project intended to restore and enhance Motutapu's natural and cultural values.
At the time of the successful removal of possums and wallabies from Rangitoto and Motutapu in the early 1990's a conservation vision was born. Together with Rangitoto, Motutapu represented an unrivalled opportunity for ecological restoration close to a metropolitan centre which could contribute significantly to threatened species' survival in New Zealand.
A restoration project was a unique chance for the community to participate in conservation. The island's rich historic and cultural landscape was also worthy of protection and enhancement.
A working plan was prepared by the Auckland Conservancy of the Department of Conservation in consultation with Ngai Tai ki Tamaki Trust and interested groups. The plan is consistent with the Conservation Management Strategy and was endorsed by the Auckland Conservation Board on 31 August 1994.
The most obvious part of the project in its early stages was the reafforestation of parts of the island. The World Wide Fund for Nature New Zealand sponsored the establishment of a nursery to provide the trees for the forest planting.
The native plant nursery was opened on the island on March 1992 by the international president of the World Wide Fund for Nature, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Since its beginnings, thousands of volunteers have collected seeds, propagated them in the nursery, planted over 400,000 native trees and protected the ""volunteer forests"" with the removal of invasive exotic plants.