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The Chatham Islands

The Chatham Islands


The Chatham Islands Quick Facts

  • Called Rekohu in Moriori and Wharekauri in Maori
  • New Zealand's most eastern landscapes of approximately 10 islands with about 600 people inhabiting the two largest (Chatham and Pitt Islands).
  • Over 800 kilometres (500 mi) east of southern New Zealand 
  • Officially part of New Zealand since 1842 
  • A truly unique history of whaling, sealing, Moriori and Maori
  • Marvellous wildlife and birdlife with some of New Zealand's most successful conservation programs
  • Named the Chatham Island after the ship H.M.S. Chatham

The Islands Of The Chathams

Chatham islands are the only place in NZ where it is legal to hunt weka

The islands are volcanic in origin and have a rugged and windswept vista with delicate habitats that can be easily damaged by the elements and mankind.
The Chatham Islands are home to many rare and endangered species

Chatham Island

  • The most populated island of the group
  • Home to many rare and endangered species
  • Much of the Chatham Island is largely flat with some small peaks towards the northwest, and rising terrain with high cliffs to the southwest and southeast.
  • Te Whanga Lagoon dominates much of Chatham island covering 20,000 hectares - about one-fifth of the island.
  • Four reserves with numerous walking tracks

Pitt Island

  • Called Rangiaotea in Moriori and Rangiauria in Maori
  • Named Pitt by the first Europeans in 1791 after William Pitt the first mate aboard the HMS Chatham
  • A short 15 min flight from Chatham Island and home to approximately 30 people
  • Majestic cliff tops, many reserves and home to some of the world's rarest birds and plants
  • The first inhabited place in the world to see the new dawn
  • Many conservation successes with heritage sites such as FlowerPot Jail, re-vegetation of the landscape, birdlife programs
  • A trip highlight

Mangere Island

  • Volcanic with steep peaks and cliffs
  • A Nature Reserve managed by the Department of Conservation
  • Seabirds which had previously declined markedly are now making a comeback along with the natural vegetation

Rangatira Island (South East Island)

  • Rangatira has been described as one of the world's premier bird islands.
  • A Nature Reserve managed by the Department of Conservation
  • Last sheep removed from the land in 1961
  • Virtually denuded during the farming period, it has since shown spectacular forest recovery, led by Chatham Islands ribbonwood, mahoe, akeake, flax, pohuehue, matipo and megaherbs.
  • Gentler terrain than Mangere Island, it lies off the south-east coast of Pitt Island. It is 219ha in area, rising to 224m above the western cliffs.
  • Established fur seal colony, including a nursery area, at the southern end of Rangatira.
  • Home to Chatham Island Black Robin, snipe, tui, tomtit, red-crowned parakeet and oystercatcher, shore plover, gulls, skuas and terns with many nesting there.
  • Rangatira is a sanctuary for endangered invertebrates including the Rangatira spider, Chathams giant click beetle, coxella weevil, Pitt Island longhorn and giant stick insect. Skinks are abundant.
  • In 1980 the Chatham Island Black Robin was the rarest bird in the world with only 5 living specimens, today thanks to conservation efforts there are over 250 

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