Daily Archives: December 11, 2011

2 posts

Typical clears vegetation of bamboo rush and swamp aster. Image: Amanda Baird/DOC

The South-West

The south-west of Chatham Island encompasses dramatic coastal scenery, a fertile farming belt and forested catchments rising to a moorish tableland containing lakes and low peaks. The south-west supports the most extensive forest on Chatham Island, expanses of upland bamboo rush & Chatham aster and important populations of threatened plants and animals. It is the only breeding sites in the world for taiko and the Chatham Island mudfish. The largest protected area occurs here with the Tuku Nature Reserve and adjoining South Chatham covenant at about 2,500 hectares.

The tableland is highly distinctive. The flat to undulating topography belies the fact it is the highest region of Chatham Island at 250-280m altitude. The island’s tallest peaks occur on the tableland’s northern edge.

Weka on the hunt

What’s the story with weka?

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.