The Conservation Minister is visiting sub-antarctic islands to see what a predator-free New Zealand would look like.
The navy patrol ship Otago has just left Bluff on a four-day trip to the Auckland Islands after waiting overnight for the minister, Maggie Barry, who was delayed by fog.
The Auckland Islands are the main breeding colony for endangered New Zealand sea lions and some albatrosses, and are largely free of mammalian pests.
The government has set a target of the country becoming predator-free by 2050.
Ms Barry said the trip would help towards that goal.
"I want to see first-hand what New Zealand will look like when the predators are gone, and that's what we'll see on some of these islands.
"The bird life and the capacity for nature to heal itself is what really will resonate with me."