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This headland on the east coast of the North Island is located 20 kilometres southeast of Napier city. Cape Kidnappers is situated at the end of an 8km peninsula and is the site of the largest and most accessible gannet colony in the world. An internationally renowned golf course is also situated on the Cape.

Administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC), this area presents a special, up close opportunity to observe the gannet in its natural environment as well as take in the scenery and coastline.

The 13 hectare reserve includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies. Both are closed to public access, however the Black Reef colony can be viewed from the beach. The Plateau colony is the main place for viewing the nesting gannets where there are also good panoramic views from this elevated headland.

There are spectacular geological cliff formations on the coast of Cape Kidnappers.

Cape Kidnappers is named after an incident in 1769 during Captain James Cook's first voyage when an attempt was made to trade with the occupants of an armed canoe. Tiata, the Tahitian servant of Tupia, Cook's interpreter, was seized by the Māori and escaped by jumping into the sea when the canoe was fired on. The cape was named to commemorate the event.

The Māori name for Cape Kidnappers is Mataupo Maui, the fish hook of Maui.

Image: Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers by Kent3ed,

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Map showing Cape Kidnappers