Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes you just have to ask ...
There are no taxis or public transport on the Chatham Islands. Check with your accommodation provider re transfers to and from the airport. Rental cars are available but must be booked in advance.
Weka are part of the Chatham Island identity. Indeed, people born on Chatham Island call themselves "Weka", as opposed to "Kiwi" for people born on the New Zealand mainland. And so it is a surprise to many people that weka are not native to the Chatham Islands and that they can be hunted.
Weka belong to a group of birds called rails. The Chatham Islands originally had seven species of rail but now (following the arrival of humans) there are only 3 surviving species - pukeko, spotless crake and marsh crake. The three surviving species are widely distributed throughout New Zealand and the southwest Pacific, reaching the edge of their range on the Chatham Islands.
Neither sandflys or mosquitoes are a problem on the Chathams and wasps are absent. There are small numbers of honey bees on both Chatham and Pitt islands.
While forecasts for the Chatham Islands often use pseudonyms for "showers" (rain at times, fine periods, occasional rain etc), rainfall in the Chatham Islands is only around 800 mm annually, with the winter months being wetter than summer. Rainfall is often brief showers as there are no mountains for cloud masses to press against, although the elevated southern end of the island does attract more rain that the north.
Temperatures are moderated by the surrounding ocean, with a mean range between the high of 14 deg C in February and 8 in July. Wind and rapid weather changes are a feature of the Chathams, so never leave home without your parka!
The Chatham Islands are 45 minutes ahead of New Zealand Standard Time, which makes them GMT +12:45 (Just why it's 45 minutes and not a "round" number is a mystery to me). The Chatham Islands also observe the same daylight saving dates as New Zealand, making them GMT +13:45 over summer months.
Sunrise and set times for both sun and moon at the Chatham Islands can be found on date and time.com
Chatham Islands is the only place in New Zealand that has a closed rock lobster (crayfish) season. During March and April no rock lobster are allowed to be caught and it is a criminal offence to be found with rock lobster in your possession. For more information on rock lobster rules, visit the Ministry of Fisheries website.