Green Island, New Zealand

Green Island, New Zealand

Location map
New Zealand
label=Green Island
lat_dir=S | lat_deg=45 | lat_min=57
lon_dir=E | lon_deg=170 | lon_min=23
width= 150

Green Island is an island off the coast of Dunedin, New Zealand, also the name of one of the city's suburbs. The suburb is not on the sea — formerly a borough, it took its name from the Green Island bush, uncleared native forest extending from the valley where the town is centred over the hills towards the coast. The offshore island's name was used to identify the bush.

The island

Green Island is a small uninhabited island located at coord|-45.952955|170.387113|display=inline|format=dms, 13 km southwest of Dunedin, close to the mouth of the Kaikorai Lagoon. The island's Māori name is Okaihae.

It may be the 'Isle of Wight' where the Sydney sealer "Brothers", chartered by Robert Campbell and sailing under Robert Mason dropped eight men of a gang of eleven in November 1809. William Tucker who later settled at Whareakeake (Murdering Beach) near Otago Heads was in the gang. Alternatively the 'Isle of Wight' may be Taieri Island a few kilometres to the south. It has been suggested in that case Green Island may be 'Ragged Rock' where the other three men of the Brothers' gang were landed. Some of the men claimed to have stayed on these two islands from 9 November 1809 until 20 December 1810. [Peter Entwisle, "Taka: a Vignette Life of William Tucker 1784-1817", Dunedin, NZ: Port Daniel Press, 2005, p.54 & pp.110-115.]

Green Island used to be called St Michael's Mount, suggesting it had been named after the island of that name off the Cornish coast. It is more likely it was so named after Tommy Chaseland's mother ship the St. Michael when he was sealing here in the 1820s. He told Edward Shortland he lost a boat and all its hands when it was dashed on the island while trying to land. He stayed alone overnight and was picked up by another boat the following day. [Edward Shortland," The Southern Districts of New Zealand; a Journal", London, UK: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1851 reprinted by Capper Press, Christchurch, 1974, pp.153-4.]

In the 1880s the island was mined for guano, bird dung used as fertiliser.

Green Island suburb

Green Island, since 1989 officially an outer suburb of Dunedin, is on State Highway 1 8 km west of the Dunedin CBD, at coord|-45.90306|170.434384|display=inline|format=dms. It has a population (2001) of 2,430. Green Island's main economy is based on light and small scale heavy industry.


Immediately to the north of Green Island, and only separated from it by the State Highway and South Island Main Trunk Railway, is Abbotsford, Abbotsford is an entirely residential suburb with virtually no retail or service sector of its own - for these it relies on Green Island which lies only some 300 metres to the south. Abbotsford has a population of 1,677.

The Abbotsford landslide

On the night of August 8 1979, a major landslide occurred in Abbotsford, resulting in the destruction or relocation of some 69 houses, and requiring the evacuation of over 600 people. No-one was killed. This remains the largest landslip to have occurred in an urban area of New Zealand.


At the southern end of the Abbotsford is the smaller suburb of Sunnyvale. This was until the 1990s the site of the main road routh south out of Dunedin, but it and Fairfield immediately to the south were bypassed by a motorway extension in 2000.


External links

* [ Abbotsford landslide]

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