activities

Roberton Island

Once you catch a commercial boat charter from Paihia or Russell, the first of many picturesque islands you will arrive at is Roberton Island, a rugged Pacific gem off our eastern shores. Also known as Motuarohia Island, as it was called before being purchased from Ngāpuhi chiefs in 1839 by a whaling ship captain named John Roberton, this tranquil little island is steeped in fascinating Māori and colonial history. Roberton Island History The earliest settlement history of the island can be dated back to the prehistoric beginnings of Polynesian settlement in Aotearoa. It is believed that the descendants of the first Māori settlers continued to live and flourish in the island’s habitat over the following centuries. This is evidenced in the large scattering of ancient Māori archaeological sites – such as pa, terraces, pits and gardening lines – that can be found throughout the central lagoon area. Motuarohia was first discovered by Captain Cook in 1769, who anchored the En…