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Chatham Islands

Your Chatham Islands adventure holiday will be a journey of discovery. You will take a step back in time, to how life used to be.

Called Rēkohu in Moriori and Wharekauri in Māori, the Chatham Islands are the most eastern part of New Zealand.  

Over 800 kilometres from New Zealand, the Chatham Islands are an intriguing and unique part of New Zealand’s cultural, geographic and natural history. At one point in time there were 26 different nationalities on the island. 

Home of the Moriori and Ngāti Mutunga o Wharekauri, early Europeans were predominantly whalers, sealers and traders.  German missionaries arrived in 1843.

Like other remote islands in the South Pacific, the communities have been shaped by the people of the time and their isolation. 

Chatham Islanders are genuine and authentic in welcoming you to their island home yet also protective of their own, their ancestral cultures, environment and way of life. 

The main island, Chatham Island is bigger than most expect and is one of 11 islands that form the archipelago.  Te Whanga Lagoon on Chatham Island is larger than Rarotonga in the Cook Islands and only Chatham and Pitt Islands are populated.

The Chatham Islands are on a path towards greater sustainability, preservation and conservation.  

With a growing movement amongst islanders in protecting our rare and endemic plants, birds and sea life, visitors are encouraged to appreciate the isolation that is allowing their renewal.

Air Chathams is the island’s airline and was originally established to freight live seafood between Pitt Island, Chatham Island and mainland New Zealand.

Flights to the Chathams Islands depart weekly all year round.  Auckland to the Chathams Islands flights depart on Thursdays at 2:00pm and take approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes flight time.  An additional flight from Auckland is scheduled every Saturday during the summer peak period.

Wellington to the Chatham Islands flights depart twice a week on a Monday and a Friday at 1:00pm with a flight time of approximately 2 hours.  An additional flight is scheduled over the summer peak period every Wednesday.

Flights from Christchurch to the Chatham Islands take approximately 2 hours 15 minutes and depart every Tuesday at 1:00pm.

 

Visit the historic and quirky Maunganui Stone Cottage, the Basalt Columns and Splatter Rock, Glory Cottage and the Flowerpot Bay jail on Pitt Island and the Hapupu National Historic Reserve of 33 hectares of kopi forest to see the Moriori rakau momori (similar to tree carvings).  

Have a meal of deep sea blue cod, hapuka, gurnard wings or crayfish fresh from the surrounding waters.  Chatham Islands seafood is renowned around the world. 

The seafood industry is the largest economic contributor on the island without which the Chatham Islands populations may never have survived.  

Today the emphasis is on sustainability and preserving this resource for the local community and years to come.

 

Basalt Columns

 

 

 

Blue Cod and Chips
Point Munning Seal Colony

 

 

 

Significant conservation efforts create a home for many rare and endangered species.  

Chatham Islanders are passionate with a real commitment to their home and natural environment.

The Taiko Trust protect the Sweetwater Forest for Taiko breeding and conservation, have established the Chatham Islands Albatross Translocation project and continue to improve coastal regeneration.

There are an abundance of nature walks and trails through scenic and conservation reserves.  

You're sure to see a cheeky weka or more and on Pitt Island if you're lucky, a little Chatham Island tomtit and the largest stand of Chatham Island Nikau.

Visit the Point Munning Seal Colony and on the way there, pop in to see the remains of a Sunderland Flying Boat.

Unusual and beautiful in their diversity and austerity, the rugged landscapes of the Chatham Islands are breathtaking. 

From high red cliffs to white and black sand beaches, and clean clear waters, there’s a different view around every corner.  

Protected in reserves and on private land, it’s easy to ask permission to see.

A perfect place for nature lovers, bird spotters, seafood addicts and history buffs. 

 

You’ll need at least a week without a doubt.

Attractions

Did you know?

Around 1905, buff weka were imported to the Chatham Islands from Canterbury (where they are now extinct). Weka proliferated to such an extent that they are now regarded as something of a pest and are a favourite seasonal food source.