New Zealand is an island nation and islands feature strongly in the iconography and the identity of New Zealanders. Islands are often sacred places, places of sanctuary, and our nests for nurturing our endangered birds, reptiles, flora and fauna. Islands have become our guardians of what makes New Zealand unique. Special ones have been 'fenced' to keep humans and pests out.
New Zealanders, for the most part, are coastal people, and our islands focus our gaze as we look beyond the mainland. Our islands have been used as forts and watchtowers, places of banishment and recovery and sometimes the volcanic nature of some have tragically been the cause of destruction and death.
Our islands are precious; New Zealand would not be Aotearoa New Zealand without our many coastal islands. They are places for restoration of our spirits and soul when we visit them to play on their shorelines and hike through their bushland forests.