Auckland Islands

The Auckland Islands (Māori: Motu Maha or Maungahuka)[1] are an archipelago of New Zealand, lying 465 kilometres (290 mi) south of the South Island. The main Auckland Island, occupying 510 km2 (200 sq mi), is surrounded by smaller Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island, and Green Island, with a combined area of 625 km2 (240 sq mi). The islands have no permanent human inhabitants.

The islands are listed with the New Zealand Outlying Islands. The islands are an immediate part of New Zealand, but not part of any region or district, but instead Area Outside Territorial Authority, like all the other outlying islands except the Solander Islands.

Ecologically, the Auckland Islands form part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion. Along with other New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, they were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.[2]

Auckland Islands
Motu Maha or Maungahuka (Māori)
The Auckland Islands as seen by STS-89 in 1998, with the northwest towards the top of the image
Location of the Auckland Islands relative to southern New Zealand
LocationSouthern Pacific Ocean
Coordinates50°42′S 166°06′E / 50.7°S 166.1°ECoordinates: 50°42′S 166°06′E / 50.7°S 166.1°E
ArchipelagoAuckland Islands
Total islands7
Major islandsAuckland Island, Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Dundas Island, Green Island
Area625 km2 (241 sq mi)
Highest elevation705 m (2,313 ft)
Highest pointMount Dick
 New Zealand
Area Outside Territorial AuthorityNew Zealand Subantarctic Islands
Population0 (2015)


The Auckland Islands lie 360 kilometres (220 mi) south of Stewart Island, and 465 kilometres (290 mi) from the South Island port of Bluff, between the latitudes 50° 30' and 50° 55' S and longitudes 165° 50' and 166° 20' E.

They include Auckland Island, Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island and Green Island, with a combined area of 625 square kilometres (240 sq mi). The islands are close to each other, separated by narrow channels, and the coastline is rugged, with numerous deep inlets.

Auckland Island, the main island, has an approximate land area of 510 km2 (197 sq mi), and a length of 42 km (26 mi). It is notable for its steep cliffs and rugged terrain, which rises to over 600 m (1,969 ft). Prominent peaks include Cavern Peak (659 m or 2,162 ft), Mount Raynal (635 m or 2,083 ft), Mount D'Urville (630 m or 2,067 ft), Mount Easton (610 m or 2,001 ft), and the Tower of Babel (550 m or 1,804 ft). The southern end of the island broadens to a width of 26 km (16 mi).[3]

Here, the narrow channel of Carnley Harbour (the Adams Straits on some maps) separates the main island from the roughly triangular Adams Island (area approximately 100 km2 or 39 sq mi), which is even more mountainous, reaching a height of 705 m (2,313 ft) at Mount Dick. The channel is the remains of the crater of an extinct volcano, and Adams Island and the southern part of the main island form the crater rim. The main island features many sharply incised inlets, notably Port Ross at the northern end.

The group includes numerous other smaller islands, notably Disappointment Island (10 km or 6.2 mi northwest of the main island) and Enderby Island (1 km or 0.62 mi off the northern tip of the main island), each covering less than 5 km2 (2 sq mi).

Most of the islands have a volcanic origin, with the archipelago dominated by two 12-million-year-old Miocene volcanoes, subsequently eroded and dissected.[4] These rest on older volcanic rocks 15–25 million years old with some older granites and fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks from around 100 million years ago.[5]


Port Ross features a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc according to the Köppen climate classification system). Like many other Subpolar oceanic climates, Port Ross, along with the Auckland Islands in general, are characterised by the near-constant overcast weather and never being too hot or too cold.

Climate data for Port Ross (1941 - 1945)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average sea temperature °C (°F) 10.4

Carnley Harbour also features a subpolar oceanic climate (Cfc according to the Köppen climate classification system), though it exaggerates the features shown in Port Ross, as it is much wetter and alot more affected by ocean-moderation.

The Auckland Islands have a fairly constant cool and mild weather year-round, with neither winter being excessively cold nor summer excessively hot. The climate is most similar to that seen in the Faroe Islands and Aleutian Islands.


Jabez peters
Restored grave of Jabez Peters, first officer of the Dundonald, in the graveyard on the main island.

Discovery and early exploitation

Evidence exists that Polynesian voyagers first discovered the Auckland Islands. Traces of Polynesian settlement, possibly dating to the 13th century, have been found by archaeologists on Enderby Island.[6] This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known.[7]

The whaler Ocean discovered the islands in 1806, finding them uninhabited.[8] Captain Abraham Bristow named them "Lord Auckland's" on 18 August 1806 in honour of his father's friend William Eden, 1st Baron Auckland. Bristow worked for the businessman Samuel Enderby, the namesake of Enderby Island. The following year Bristow returned on Sarah in order to claim the archipelago for Britain. The explorers Dumont D'Urville in 1839, and James Clark Ross visited in 1839 and in 1840 respectively.

Whalers and sealers set up temporary bases, the islands becoming one of the principal sealing stations in the Pacific in the years immediately after their discovery.[8] By 1812, so many seals had been killed that the islands lost their commercial importance and sealers redirected their efforts towards Campbell and Macquarie Islands. Visits to the islands declined, although recovering seal populations allowed a modest revival in sealing in the mid-1820s.

The sealing era lasted from 1807 till 1894, during which time 82 vessels are recorded as visiting for sealing purposes. Some 11 of these ships were wrecked off-shore.[9] Relics of the sealing period include inscriptions, the remains of huts and graves.


Now uninhabited, the islands saw unsuccessful settlements in the mid-19th century. In 1842 a small party of Māori and their Moriori slaves from the Chatham Islands migrated to the archipelago, surviving for some 20 years on sealing and flax growing. Samuel Enderby's grandson, Charles Enderby, proposed a community based on agriculture and whaling in 1846. This settlement, established at Port Ross in 1849 and named Hardwicke, lasted only two and a half years.[10]

The Auckland Islands were part of the Colony of New Zealand under the Letters Patent of April 1842 which fixed the southern boundary of New Zealand at 53° south, but they were then excluded by the Act of 1846 which defined the southern boundary at 47° 10' south; however they were again included by the New Zealand Boundaries Act of 1863, an act of the Imperial Parliament at Westminster which extended the boundaries of the colony once more.[11]


Auckland's southern coast

The rocky coasts of the islands have proven disastrous for several ships. The Grafton, captained by Thomas Musgrave, was wrecked in Carnley Harbour in 1864. Madelene Ferguson Allen's narrative about her great-grandfather, Robert Holding, and the wreck of the Scottish sailing ship Invercauld, wrecked in the Auckland Islands a few months later in 1864, counterpoints the Grafton story.[12] François Édouard Raynal wrote Wrecked on a Reef.[13]

In 1866, one of New Zealand's most famous shipwrecks, that of the General Grant, occurred on the western coast. Ten survivors waited for rescue on Auckland Island for 18 months. Several attempts have failed to salvage its cargo, allegedly including bullion.[14]

Because of the probability of wrecks around the islands, calls arose for the establishment of emergency depots for castaways in 1868. The New Zealand authorities established and maintained three such depots, at Port Ross, Norman Inlet and Carnley Harbour from 1887. They also cached additional supplies, including boats (to help reach the depots) and 40 finger-posts (which had smaller amounts of supplies), around the islands.[15]

When a further maritime tragedy occurred in 1907, with the loss of the Dundonald and 12 of her crew, off Disappointment Island. The 15 survivors lived off the supplies in the Auckland Island depot.[16]

Scientific research and reserve

The Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition of 1907 spent 10 days on the islands conducting a magnetic survey and taking botanical, zoological and geological specimens.

From 1941 to 1945, the islands hosted a New Zealand meteorological station as part of a coastwatching programme staffed by scientist volunteers and known for security reasons as the "Cape Expedition".[17] The staff included Robert Falla, later an eminent New Zealand scientist. Currently the islands have no inhabitants, although scientists visit regularly and the authorities allow limited tourism on Enderby Island and Auckland Island.

New reserves including Auckland Islands were established in 2014, which are about 15 times larger than the reserve on Stewart Island, making Subantarctic islands the largest natural sanctuary in the nation.[18]



Gentianella concinna
Gentianella concinna, an endemic plant of the Auckland Islands

The botany of the islands was first described in the Flora of Lord Auckland and Campbell's Islands, a product of the Ross expedition of 1839–43, written by Joseph Dalton Hooker and published by Reeve Brothers in London between 1843 and 1845.[19]

The vegetation of the islands sub-divides into distinct altitudinal zones. Inland from the salt-spray zone, the fringes of the islands predominantly feature forests of southern rata Metrosideros umbellata, and in places the subantarctic tree daisy (Olearia lyallii), probably introduced by sealers.[20] Above this exists a subalpine shrub zone dominated by Dracophyllum, Coprosma and Myrsine (with some rata). At higher elevations tussock grass and megaherb communities dominate the flora.


The islands host the largest communities of subantarctic invertebrates, with 24 species of spider, 11 species of springtail and over 200 insects.[21] These include 57 species of beetle, 110 flies and 39 moths. The islands also boast an endemic genus and species of weta, Dendroplectron cryptacanthus.

Fresh and saltwater fauna

The freshwater environments of the islands host a freshwater fish, the koaro or climbing galaxias, which lives in saltwater as a juvenile but which returns to the rivers as an adult. The islands have 19 species of endemic freshwater invertebrates, including one mollusc, one crustacean, a mayfly, 12 flies and two caddis flies. Auckland Islands cockle are endemic to the islands.

Marine mammals

By the 21st century the islands had become the primary breeding location of New Zealand sea lions.

Only two native mammals exist: two species of seal which haul out on the islands, the New Zealand fur seal and the threatened New Zealand sea lion. Southern elephant seals started to re-colonize on the islands, too.[22]

A well-recovering population in excess of 2,000 southern right whales is found off the islands, and Port Ross area is considered to be the most important and well-established congregating ground for whales in New Zealand waters. Its importance exceeds the Campbell Island ground.[23]


The islands hold important seabird breeding colonies, among them albatrosses, penguins and several small petrels,[4] with a million pairs of sooty shearwater. Landbirds include red-fronted and yellow-crowned parakeet, New Zealand falcon, tui, bellbirds, pipits and an endemic subspecies of tomtit.

The whole Auckland Island group has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because of its significance as a breeding site for several species of seabirds as well as the endemic Auckland shag, Auckland teal, Auckland rail, and Auckland snipe. The seabirds include southern rockhopper and yellow-eyed penguins; Antipodean, southern royal, light-mantled and white-capped albatrosses; and white-chinned petrel.[24]

Ecological history

Several introduced species have come to the islands; goats, other useful animals and seed were brought to the islands by Captains Musgrave and Norman 1865, returning to search for castaways;[25] ecologists eliminated or allowed to go extinct cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, possums and rabbits in the 1990s, but feral cats, pigs and mice remain on Auckland Island. The last rabbits on Enderby Island were removed in 1993 through the application of poison, also eradicating mice there.[26]

Curiously, rats have never managed to colonise the islands, in spite of numerous visits and shipwrecks and their ubiquity on other islands.[27] Introduced species affected the native vegetation and bird life, and caused the extinction of the New Zealand merganser, a duck formerly widespread in southern New Zealand, and ultimately confined to the islands.

The New Zealand Department of Conservation plans to remove the last remaining introduced mammals from Auckland Island, making the entire island group pest-free, in what would be one of the largest multi-species eradication plans in the world.[28] This project started in November 2018, with NZ$2m of initial scoping work. The total cost for the eradication could stretch to NZ$40–50 million over 10 years.[29]

List of endemic species

See also


  1. ^ "1.3 Kaupapa Atawhai" (PDF). Conservation Management Strategy Subantarctic Islands 1998-2008. Department of Conservation. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  2. ^ "New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands". UNESCO.
  3. ^ "Map of the Auckland Islands". Department of Conservation. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Shirihai, H (2002). A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife. Degerby, Finland: Alua Press. ISBN 951-98947-0-5.
  5. ^ Denison, R.E.; Coombs, D.S. (1977). "Radiometric ages for some rocks from Snares and Auckland Islands, Campbell Plateau". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 34 (1): 23–29. Bibcode:1977E&PSL..34...23D. doi:10.1016/0012-821X(77)90101-7.
  6. ^ "4. Early human settlement – Subantarctic islands". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  7. ^ Don Macnaughtan. "Mystery Islands of Remote South Polynesia: Bibliography of Prehistoric Settlement on Norfolk Island, the Kermadecs, Lord Howe, and the Auckland Islands". Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  8. ^ a b McLaren, F.B. (1948). The Auckland Islands: Their Eventful History. Wellington: A.H and A.W Reed.
  9. ^ Headland, R.K. (ed.) (2018) Historical Antarctic Sealing Industry, Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute, p.166.
  10. ^ Conon Fraser, The Enderby settlement; Britain's whaling venture on the subantarctic Auckland Islands 1849-1852, Otago University Press, 2014.
  11. ^ Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 31. OCLC 154283103.
  12. ^ Allen, M. F. (1997). Wake of the Invercauld: Shipwrecked in the Sub-Antarctic. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. ISBN 0-7735-1688-3.
  13. ^ Raynal, Francois Edouard (2003). "Wrecked on a Reef or Twenty Months among the Auckland Isles - A facsimile of the text and illustrations of the 1880 edition published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, London, Edinburgh, and New York, with additional commentaries by Christiane Mortelier". Steele Roberts, New Zealand. Retrieved 27 March 2010
  14. ^ McLintock, A. H., ed. (1966). "General Grant". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Wellington: R. E. Owen, Government Printer. ISBN 9780478184518.
  15. ^ "DOC:Antipodes Island castaway depot".
  16. ^ "Wrecked on the Auckland Islands in 1907".
  17. ^ Hall, D. O. W. (1951). "The Cape Expedition". Coastwatchers. Wellington: Dept. of Internal Affairs. OCLC 1022254.
  18. ^ "New Subantarctic marine reserves established". ONE News. 2 March 2014. Retrieved 13 November 2014.
  19. ^ Joseph Dalton Hooker (1844). Flora Antarctica, Volume 1, Parts 1-2, Flora Novae-Zelandiae - The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage of H.M. Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839-1843. London: Reeve Brothers. pp. title pages.
  20. ^ Campbell, D; Rudge, M (1976). "The case for controlling the distribution of the tree daisy Olearia lyallii Hook. F. in its type locality, Auckland Islands" (PDF). Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society (23): 109–115.
  21. ^ Department of Conservation (1999) New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands. Reed Books: Auckland ISBN 0-7900-0719-3
  22. ^ Antonvanhelden (2012). "Our Far South". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  23. ^ Stewart R.; Todd B. (2001). "A note on observations of southern right whales at Campbell Island, New Zealand" (PDF). Journals of Cetacean Research Management Special Issue. 2: 117–120. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Important Bird Areas factsheet: Auckland Islands". BirdLife International. 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Torr, N (2002) "Eradication of rabbits and mice from subantarctic Enderby and Rose Islands" Archived 12 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Turning the tide: the eradication of invasive species (Proceedings of the international conference on eradication of island invasives; Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27. Veitch, C. R. and Clout, M.N., eds
  27. ^ Chimera, C.; Coleman, M. C.; Parkes, J. P. (1995). "Diet of feral goats and feral pigs on Auckland Island, New Zealand" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Ecology. 19 (2): 203–207.
  28. ^ Nicoll, Dave (17 December 2017). "Department of Conservation Auckland Island eradication project may be largest in world". Stuff. Retrieved 7 December 2018.
  29. ^ Nicoll, Dave (16 November 2018). "DOC start field trials for Auckland Islands pest eradication project". Stuff. Retrieved 10 January 2019.

Further reading

  • Wise's New Zealand Guide (4th ed.) (1969). Dunedin: H. Wise & Co. (N.Z.) Ltd.
  • Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand (1863, Session III Oct-Dec) (A5)
  • Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked At the Edge of the World (2007) by Joan Druett – an account of the Grafton and Invercauld wrecks
  • Sub Antarctic New Zealand: A Rare Heritage by Neville Peat – the Department of Conservation guide to the islands

External links

Adams Island, New Zealand

Adams Island is the second largest island of New Zealand's Auckland Islands archipelago.

Anjou (ship)

Anjou was a 1,642 gross register tons (GRT), French steel barque built in 1899. It was wrecked in the Auckland Islands in 1905.

Antarctic prion

The Antarctic prion (Pachyptila desolata) also known as the dove prion, or totorore in Maori, is the largest of the prions, a genus of small petrels of the Southern Ocean.

Antipodean albatross

The Antipodean albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) is a large seabird in the albatross family. Antipodean albatrosses are smaller than wandering albatrosses, and breed in predominantly brown plumage, but are otherwise difficult to distinguish from wanderers.

Auckland Island

Auckland Island Motu Maha is the main island of the Auckland Islands, an uninhabited archipelago in the south Pacific Ocean. It is part of the New Zealand Subantarctic Area. It is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list together with the other subantarctic New Zealand islands in the region.

Auckland Islands shore plover

The Auckland Islands shore plover (Thinornis rossii), also called Ross’s plover, is a small extinct plover known only from a single specimen, apparently collected in the Auckland Islands in 1840 by the crew of HMS Erebus, and now in the collection of the British Natural History Museum. Its status as a species distinct from the shore plover was uncertain for many years. Charles Fleming speculated about whether the lone specimen represented an unknown intermediate plumage, a melanistic mutant, or a separate species. The consensus today, however, is that it is an immature Thinornis novaeseelandiae with an incorrectly-recorded location.

Auckland rail

The Auckland rail (Lewinia muelleri) is a small nearly flightless rail endemic to the Auckland Islands 460 km south of New Zealand. It is somewhat of a biogeographical anomaly, being the only species in the genus Lewinia to have reached the islands of New Zealand, skipping over the main islands to reach the remote Auckland group. Its closest relative is Lewin's rail of Australia. The species is currently restricted to two islands in the Auckland group, Adams Island and Disappointment Island.

The Auckland rail is a small rail with chestnut back plumage and a grey breast. The flanks are barred black and white and the head is red-brown, with a red bill. It is smaller than the Australian Lewins' rail. There are conflicting reports about its ability to fly. Early accounts suggested it could; recent researchers have found little evidence for this. If the species is able to fly, it does so very infrequently. Auckland rails have a variety of calls, the most common being a crex call made at one second intervals 10 or more times in a row. The function of the calls is unknown.

Little is known about the reproductive biology of the Auckland rail. The few nests that have been found contained clutches of two eggs, probably laid in early November. The eggs are cream coloured with red, brown and grey spots.

The Auckland rail is highly secretive and was considered to be extinct for many years before its rediscovery. The population is currently stable on the two islands it survives on. It is thought to have become extinct on the main Auckland Islands due to the presence of introduced feral cats and pigs; it is hoped the eventual removal of these from the islands will allow for reintroductions to other islands in the group. The species is currently considered vulnerable by the IUCN and BirdLife International due to the possibility of rats or other predators reaching the two islands it survives on.

Auckland shag

The Auckland shag (Leucocarbo colensoi) or Auckland Islands shag is a species of cormorant from New Zealand. The species is endemic to the Auckland Islands archipelago. It is a sedentary bird that primarily eats various crustaceans and fish. In recent years, roughly 1,000 pairs have been recorded. The Auckland shag is a colonial nester, building sizeable nests of, among other items, grass, twigs and seaweed. The Auckland shag lays three pale blue-green eggs in November–February. The incubation period is 26–32 days.

The Auckland shag is considered Vulnerable by the IUCN due to its small population size and restricted global range. Only around 2000 Auckland shags exist in their remote habitat.

Some taxonomic authorities, including the International Ornithologists' Union, place this species in the genus Leucocarbo. Others place it in the genus Phalacrocorax.

The binomial name of this bird commemorates the naturalist William Colenso.

Auckland teal

The Auckland teal or Auckland Islands teal (Anas aucklandica) is a species of dabbling duck of the genus Anas that is endemic to Auckland Islands south of New Zealand. The species was once found throughout the Auckland Islands but is now restricted to the islands that lack introduced predators: Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island and a few smaller islands. An old report of "the same flightless duck" on North East Island, The Snares group most likely refers to a straggler.The Auckland teal is smaller and rarer than the brown teal of the main islands of New Zealand, a species with which it was once considered conspecific. The plumage is all over brown with a hint of green on the neck and a conspicuous white eyering. The female is slightly darker than the male. The wings are very small and the species has, like the related Campbell teal, lost the power of flight.The Auckland teal is mostly crepuscular to nocturnal, preferring to hide from predators (New Zealand falcons and skuas) during the day. The species inhabits a variety of habitats with the islands, including tussock fields, megaherb shrubland and coastal waters. It is carnivorous for the most part, feeding on marine invertebrates, insects, amphipods and other small Invertebrates. Auckland teal are territorial and seldom form flocks.

Disappointment Island

Disappointment Island is one of seven uninhabited islands in the Auckland Islands archipelago, in New Zealand. It is 290 kilometres (180 mi) south of the country's main South Island and 8 kilometres (5 mi) from the northwest end of Auckland Island. It is home to the native Marianne teal, and a large colony of white-capped albatrosses: about 65,000 pairs – nearly the entire world's population – nest there. Also on the island is the Auckland rail, endemic to the archipelago; once thought to be extinct, it was rediscovered in 1966.

Enderby Island

Enderby Island is part of the Auckland Islands archipelago, south of and belonging to New Zealand. It is situated just off the northern tip of Auckland Island, the largest island in the archipelago.

General Grant (ship)

General Grant was a 1,005-ton three-masted barque built in Maine in the United States in 1864 and registered in Boston, Massachusetts. She was named after Ulysses S. Grant and owned by Messers Boyes, Richardson & Co. She had a timber hull with a length of 179.5 ft, beam of 34.5 ft and depth of 21.5 ft. While on her way from Melbourne to London, General Grant crashed into a cliff on the west coast of main island of the Auckland Islands of New Zealand, and subsequently sank as a result. Sixty-eight people drowned and only 15 people survived.

New Zealand bellbird

The New Zealand bellbird (Anthornis melanura), also known by its Māori names korimako and makomako, is a passerine bird endemic to New Zealand. It has greenish colouration and is the only living member of the genus Anthornis. The bellbird forms a significant component of the famed New Zealand dawn chorus of bird song that was much noted by early European settlers. The explorer Captain Cook wrote of its song "it seemed to be like small bells most exquisitely tuned". Its bell-like song is sometimes confused with that of the tui. The species is common across much of New Zealand and its offshore islands as well as the Auckland Islands.

New Zealand merganser

The New Zealand merganser, Auckland merganser or Auckland Islands merganser (Mergus australis) was a typical merganser which is now extinct.

This duck was similar in size to the red-breasted merganser. The adult male had a dark reddish-brown head, crest and neck, with bluish black mantle and tail and slate grey wings. The female was slightly smaller with a shorter crest.

This bird was first collected when a French expedition led by the explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville on the ships L'Astrolabe and La Zelee visited the Auckland Islands in 1840. Its decline was caused by a combination of hunting and predation by introduced mammals. The bird was not flightless, but rather hard to flush; it preferred to hide between rocks when pursued. The last sighting was of a pair shot on January 9, 1902. It was not found in a 1909 search, and a thorough 1972/1973 exploration of possible habitat concluded that it was long extinct (Williams & Weller, 1974).

Subsequent fossil discoveries suggest that this merganser was previously resident in the South Island, and on Stewart Island/Rakiura in New Zealand. Fossils of a subspecies or closely related species have also been found on the Chatham Islands. There exists a short remark mentioning "a merganser" found on Campbell Island in McCormick (1842), but this may just as well refer to the semi-marine Campbell teal which is otherwise missing in his notes: he only mentions the Pacific black duck ("a New Zealand species of duck").

New Zealand sea lion

The New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri), also known as Hooker's sea lion, and whakahao in Māori, is a species of sea lion that primarily breeds on New Zealand's subantarctic Auckland and Campbell islands and to some extent around the coast of New Zealand's South and Stewart islands. The New Zealand sea lion numbers around 10,000 and is perhaps the world's rarest sea lion species. They are the only species of the genus Phocarctos.

Poa annua

Poa annua, or annual meadow grass (known in America more commonly as annual bluegrass or simply poa), is a widespread low-growing turfgrass in temperate climates. Though P. annua is commonly considered a solely annual plant due to its name, perennial bio-types do exist. Poa (πόα) is Greek for "fodder". It is one of the sweetest grasses for green fodder, but less useful than hay. This grass may have originated as a hybrid between Poa supina and Poa infirma.

Spectacled porpoise

The spectacled porpoise (Phocoena dioptrica) is a rarely seen member of the porpoise family. The species is readily distinguished from other porpoises by a characteristic dark ring around the eyes, which gives the animals their name. This ring is commonly surrounded by a farther lighter ring.

Tui (bird)

The tui (Māori: tūī; Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is an endemic passerine bird of New Zealand, and the only species in the genus Prosthemadera. It is one of the largest species in the diverse Australasian honeyeater family, and one of two living species of that family found in New Zealand, the other being the related New Zealand bellbird. The species has a wide distribution in the archipelago, ranging from the subtropical Kermadec Islands to the sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, as well as the main islands.

Yellow-eyed penguin

The yellow-eyed penguin (Megadyptes antipodes) or hoiho is a penguin native to New Zealand. Previously thought closely related to the little penguin (Eudyptula minor), molecular research has shown it more closely related to penguins of the genus Eudyptes. Like most other penguins, it is mainly piscivorous.

The species breeds along the eastern and south-eastern coastlines of the South Island of New Zealand, as well as Stewart Island, Auckland Islands, and Campbell Islands. Colonies on the Otago Peninsula are a popular tourist venue, where visitors may closely observe penguins from hides, trenches, or tunnels.

On the New Zealand mainland, the species has experienced a significant decline over the past 20 years. On the Otago Peninsula, numbers have dropped by 75% since the mid-1990s and population trends indicate the possibility of local extinction in the next 20 to 40 years. While the effect of rising ocean temperatures is still being studied, an infectious outbreak in the mid 2000s played a large role in the drop. Human activities at sea (fisheries, pollution) may have an equal if not greater influence on the species' downward trend.

Climate data for Port Ross (1941−1945)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 14.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 11.2
Average low °C (°F) 7.6
Average rainfall mm (inches) 110
Average precipitation days 22 22 27 27 26 26 28 28 27 27 25 26 311
Climate data for Carnley Harbour (1941−1945)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 12.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 10.1
Average low °C (°F) 7.2
Average rainfall mm (inches) 180
Average precipitation days 25 24 26 28 29 29 29 30 29 29 25 28 331
Polynesian triangle
Polynesian outliers
Sovereign states
Dependencies and
other territories

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