The Oi (Grey-faced petrel, Pterodroma macroptera gouldi) is a taonga for both the Hauraki and Ngāti Awa communities, and is considered a keystone species to the ecosystems on the Ruamāhua (Aldermen) Islands and Moutohora (Whale Island).
Hauraki Māori have expressed their desire to resume their kaitiaki (guardian) role over the Aldermen Islands by actively engaging their people, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation (DOC), in the management of this island ecosystem and the harvest of this keystone species. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa have also expressed their desire to review the current status of the oi population on Moutohora, and determine whether it is recovering after the removal of rats in 1987.
To provide the requested management advice, the factors that influence and regulate Oi population growth need to be identified and the mechanisms of change understood. This will be crucial to conservation management on the islands and the wider marine environment and for assessing the viability of developing the oi harvest as a resource in the future.