Tuatara Conservation

Tumbleweed Tees is proud to be assisting the tuatara conservation efforts by Victoria University of Wellington & the Matiu/Somes Charitable Trust. 

$5 from every adult Tuatara tee sold goes to assist the survey of Tuatara populations that have been translocated onto Matiu/Somes Island.



Conservation on Location video from Tumbleweed Tees of Tuatara and other wildlife on Matiu Somes Island.

Here is some info on the amazing Tuatara and the importance of Matiu/Somes Island to their conservation:

"Tuatara are rare, medium-sized reptiles (adults ranging from about 300g to 1000g) found only in New Zealand. They are the only living members of an Order of reptiles, which was well represented by many species during the age of the dinosaurs, some 200 million years ago (but they are not dinosaurs). All other species of the tuatara's Order declined and eventually became extinct about 60 million years ago. Tuatara are therefore of huge international interest to biologists and are also recognised internationally and within New Zealand as a species in need of active conservation management. To iwi Maori tuatara are taonga species - a species of special cultural significance and importance.

Tuatara Conservation

Tuatara once lived throughout the mainland of New Zealand but survived in the wild on just 32 offshore islands. These islands were mostly free of rodents and other introduced mammalian predators and occupied by breeding colonies of seabirds. Over the past twenty years, with the increasing involvement of iwi, tuatara recovery work has focussed on removing rats from the few tuatara islands where the rodents were still present, and translocating tuatara to other islands, including Matiu/Somes Island, and to mainland fenced sanctuaries to establish new wild populations. Research and enhanced animal husbandry techniques throughout this period have led to successful incubation of eggs and raising of juveniles in captivity, juveniles that have been used to augment relict populations and to provide animals for the new wild populations."

Tuatara Conservation work | Tumbleweed Tees

"Matiu / Somes Island’s original tuatara population was wiped out by the mid-1800s. However, in 1998, more than 50 tuatara from Brothers Island were successfully introduced and breeding was first confirmed on the island in 2010. Monitoring translocations is an important aspect in aiding understanding of the habitat requirements of tuatara and also in determining whether the translocation has been successful. A successful translocation is defined as the establishment of a self-sustaining population, whi c h for tuatara will take decades. In the shorter term, surveys to capture and measure individuals help us understand how well the founders are doing in their new locations, and whether there is recruitment into the population from island-born young."

Tuatara Conservation

Show your support for the Tuatara and buy an adult Tuatara T-shirt.

Find out more about the Tuatara Conservation carried out by VUW.