- Auckland Islands
Auckland Islands Motu Maha or Maungahuka (Māori)
Topographical map of the Auckland Islands
Position relative to New Zealand and other outlying islands
Geography Location Southern Pacific Ocean Coordinates Coordinates: Archipelago Auckland Islands Total islands 7 Major islands Auckland Island, Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Dundas Island, Green Island Highest elevation 660 m (2,170 ft) Highest point Mount Dick CountryNew Zealand Area Outside Territorial Authority New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands Demographics Population 0
The Auckland Islands (Māori: Motu Maha or Maungahuka) are an archipelago of the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands and 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). They lie 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. The islands have no permanent human inhabitants. Ecologically, the Auckland Islands form part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion.
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 (650 m/2,133 ft), Mount Raynal (635 m/2,083 ft), Mount D'Urville (630 m/2,067 ft), Mount Easton (610 m/2,001 ft), and the Tower of Babel (550 m/1,804 ft).
The southern end of the island broadens to a width of 26 km (16 mi). 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 km2/39 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 group includes numerous other smaller islands, notably Disappointment Island (10 km/6.2 mi northwest of the main island) and Enderby Island (1 km/0.62 mi off the northern tip of the main island), each covering less than 5 km2 (2 sq mi).
The main island features many sharply-incised inlets, notably Port Ross at the northern end.
Most of the islands originated volcanically, with the archipelago dominated by two 12 million year old Miocene volcanoes, subsequently eroded and dissected. 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.
Discovery and early exploitation
Some 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. This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known.
A whaling vessel, Ocean, re-discovered the islands in 1806, finding them uninhabited. 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 the 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. By 1812 so much sealing had occurred on the islands that they 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.
Now[update] 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.
The Imperial Parliament at Westminster included the Auckland Islands in the extended boundaries of New Zealand in 1863.
The rocky coasts of the islands have proved 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 the Invercauld, wrecked in the Auckland Islands in 1864, counterpoints the Grafton story.
In 1866 one of New Zealand's most famous shipwrecks, that of the General Grant, occurred on the western coast. Several attempts have failed to salvage its cargo, allegedly including bullion. A further maritime tragedy occurred in 1907, with the loss of the Dundonald and 12 crew off Disappointment Island. 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.
Scientific research and reserve
The 1907 Sub-Antarctic Islands Scientific Expedition spent ten 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". The staff included Robert Falla, later an eminent New Zealand scientist. Currently[update] the islands have no inhabitants, although scientists visit regularly and the authorities allow limited tourism on Enderby Island and Auckland Island.
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. Above this exists a subalpine shrub zone dominated by Dracophyllum, Coprosma and Myrsine (with some rata). At higher elevations tussockgrass and megaherb communities dominate the flora.
The islands hold important seabird breeding colonies, among them several species of albatross, two species of penguin and several small petrels. The rare Yellow-eyed Penguin breeds here, as does the endemic Auckland Shag and around a million pairs of Sooty Shearwater. The Aucklands also host several landbirds as well, including the Auckland Snipe, Red-fronted and Yellow-crowned Parakeets, Tui, New Zealand Bellbird, New Zealand Pipit, a subspecies of the Tomtit, the Double-banded Plover, New Zealand Falcon as well as the endemic Auckland Rail (Lewinia muelleri) and Auckland Teal.
The islands host the largest communities of subantarctic invertebrates, with 24 species of spider, 11 species of springtail and over 200 insects. These include 57 species of beetle, 110 flies and 39 moths. The islands also boast an endemic genus and species of weta, Dendroplectron cryptacanthus.
The freshwater environments of the islands host a freshwater fish, the koaro or Galaxias brevipinnis, 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.
A number of introduced species have come to the islands; ecologists eliminated or allowed to go extinct cattle, sheep, goats, dogs, possums and rabbits in the 1990s, but feral cats and pigs remain. Workers removed the last rabbits on Enderby Island in 1993 by the application of poison, also eradicating mice. Curiously, rats have never managed to colonise the islands, in spite of numerous visits and shipwrecks and their ubiquity on other islands.
Introduced species affected the native vegetation and bird life, and caused the extinction of the Auckland Merganser, a duck formerly widespread in southern New Zealand, and ultimately confined to the islands.
A population in excess of 1,000 southern right whales is found off the islands.
- Composite Antarctic Gazetteer
- List of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands
- List of islands of New Zealand
- New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands
- Territorial claims in Antarctica
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- ^ http://lanecc.edu/library/don/norfolk.htm#auckland
- ^ a b McLaren, F.B. (1948) The Auckland Islands: Their Eventful History A.H and A.W Reed:Wellington
- ^ Allen, Madelene Ferguson (1997). Wake of the Invercauld : shipwrecked in the sub-Antarctic : a great-granddaughter’s pilgrimage. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. ISBN 0773516883.
- ^ Hall, D.O.W. (1950). "The Cape Expedition". The Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939–1945 (Historical Publications Branch). http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-2Epi-c9-WH2-2Epi-g.html. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- ^ BirdLife International (2003) "Auckland Islands" BirdLife's online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation. Version 2.0. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Available: http://www.birdlife.org (accessed 13/7/2007)
- ^ 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" Proceedings of the New Zealand Ecological Society 23 109-115 
- ^ Department of Conservation (1999) New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands. Reed Books: Auckland ISBN 0-7900-0719-3
- ^ Torr, N (2002) "Eradication of rabbits and mice from subantarctic Enderby and Rose Islands", 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
- ^ 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. http://www.nzes.org.nz/nzje/free_issues/NZJEcol19_2_203.pdf.
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- 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 & Invercauld wrecks
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- High Resolution Map
- A Map of the Islands
- Island Information
- Historical Timeline of the Auckland Islands
- Diary of a 1962–63 biological visit by E. J. Fisher
- 1948 article on Auckland Islands Coleoptera by E. S. Gourlay
British Empire and Commonwealth of Nations Polynesia Polynesian triangle Polynesian outliers Polynesian-influenced
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