Great Barrier Island often colloquially known as just The Barrier is a large island of New Zealand, situated 100 km to the north-east of central Auckland in the outer Hauraki Gulf. With an area of 285 km² it is the fourth-largest island of New Zealand's main chain of islands, with its highest point, Mount Hobson, rising 621 m.
The remote island was initially exploited for its minerals and kauri trees and saw only some limited agriculture. It is now inhabited by a small population of around 850 people, mostly living from farming and tourism. The majority of the diverse environments of the island (around 60% of the total area) is administered as nature reserve by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, with the local authority being the Auckland City Council.
The island received its European name from Captain Cook because it acts as a barrier between the Pacific Ocean and Gulf. For centuries, the indigenous Maori have called it Motu Aotea, meaning island of the white cloud in the Maori language.