Quarantine Island 60th Celebrations

(PR.co.nz) Our Island community is coming together to celebrate its 60th birthday.

Founded by two churchmen with a vision of work and worship modelled on the Scottish community of Iona, the group was known for many years as the St Martin Island Community. Four generations on, sustainability, social justice and spirituality are still at the core of what we do, but our community has become more diverse. It has gone from strength to strength, with a name update and with more people than ever getting involved in caring for this special place in the heart of the Otago Harbour.

We are very proud of the efforts of so many people who have been a part of our non-profit community. Almost everything on the Island is done by hand and by willing volunteers. From treeplanting to painting our historic buildings to sharing stories with our visitors, there’s always something interesting to do and an equally interesting person to talk with as you go. Sharing food and friendship together is a vital part of our monthly Open Days. It’s also a great place to take time out from busy life and just breathe, potter on the beach – or swim! We welcome visiting families, schools and other groups to come for the day or stay over.

This year’s focus has been on two main projects. The Curious Minds citizen science programme has had volunteers learning and collecting information about the different plants, birds and animals on the island, and measuring how they are affected by predators. Luckily, the Island is not a home to possums, stoats, weasels or rabbits. Rats and mice are a different story!
Funding for our Weedbusters project from DCC has enabled intrepid volunteers to get amongst it, attacking Darwin’s barberry, gorse, broom and ivy, among other noxious nuisances. This helps the new bush to thrive, thanks to our many helpers.

The Married Quarters, the 1873 building which housed settler families in quarantine times, is now in the final phase of restoration. We are now planning how this wonderful and unique space can be used on a regular basis.

The celebrations will be held over two weekends. Part One, this Saturday 20th October (Labour Weekend) will see some short presentations by community members and former Island Keepers, our legendary potluck lunch and a chance to explore. People are welcome to come for the day or to stay on over Labour Weekend. Sunday and Monday also offer the chance to come over for the afternoon or overnight, to relax, do a little biodiversity monitoring, weed control, or release seedlings. We want to gather some informal stories from past members and visitors.
Part two on November 17th will be time for another Island knees-up with local musicians Catgut and Steel from 7 – 10 pm. Earlier on it will be an Island Open day, but there will be boats to the island throughout the day. Details for both weekends are on our website quarantineisland.org.nz

Media Release 16 October 2018.