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Watchman Island
Native name:
Te Kākāwhakaara
The island in the centre of the photo, as seen from Masefield Beach, in Herne Bay.
Location Auckland
Adjacent bodies of water Waitemata Harbour
Area 60 m2 (650 sq ft)
Length 10 m (30 ft)
Width 10 m (30 ft)
Coastline 30 m (100 ft)
New Zealand

Watchman Island is a tiny sandstone island in the Waitemata Harbour of Auckland, New Zealand. It lies approximately 600 metres north of the Herne Bay suburb.

In the mid-19th century, the island was known as Sentinel Rock, which appears under this name on an 1857 British Admiralty chart of the Waitemata Harbour.

On 31 July 2011, a Māori Sovereignty flag was raised at the top of the island as part of a four-man waka led Hikoi through the harbour. The flag has since been removed.

The island is visible from the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which caused it to briefly make headlines when Adidas in 2005 erected a metal crouching figure (shown doing a haka) as part of a campaign to promote the All Blacks during the Lions' rugby tour. While Adidas noted that it had consulted on the erection of the statue, it was eventually toppled from the top of the island by a saboteur claiming that it was culturally insensitive. The island is customary Māori property.

The island has special (or more precisely, undefined) legal status, as neither Auckland City Council, Auckland Regional Council or Ports of Auckland claimed responsibility, though some local iwi are considered to have customary rights over it. Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee once noted in a thesis that:

"Watchman Island and many other islets in the Hauraki Gulf "are not formally owned in a property title sense. For nearly 150 years they have existed in a legal limbo as 'uninvestigated', which normally presupposes Māori customary land."
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