Chatham Islands Conservation Board district
IntroductionThe Chatham Islands Conservation board's area of interest covers the group of 40 scattered islands making up the Chatham Islands. They are 768 kilometres from Wellington and lie 44 degrees south, in the path of the Roaring Forties.
The board's area of interest covers the group of 40 scattered islands making up the Chatham Islands. They are 768 km from Wellington and lie 44 degrees south, in the path of the Roaring Forties. For much of the year the climate is temperate – temperatures in the low twenties in midsummer which can drop to between 5 and 8 degrees in the winter. The main island includes lagoons and lakes and is surrounded by a vast expanse of ocean.
The Chatham Islands have a total land area of approximately 97,000 ha, including Chatham Island (90,000 ha) and Pitt Island (6326 ha) and the outlying islands and rock stacks. DOC has an office at Te One on Chatham Island and a permanent staff member on Pitt Island.
The ocean that surrounds these islands is rich in marine life and supports nationally significant populations of whales, dolphins and seals and also internationally significant populations of sea birds.
36 endemic vascular plants are considered endemic to the islands, along with 7 seaweeds, 8 fungi, and one moss, liverwort and lichen. There are also 16 birds, 1 reptile and over 50 invertebrate species endemic to these islands. 20% of New Zealand’s threatened birds (forest and sea birds), 14% of threatened plants, and 8.5% of New Zealand’s threatened freshwater fish occur on the Chatham Islands.
The Chatham Islands have 700 archaeological sites recorded and many more unrecorded. The New Zealand Geo-preservation Inventory lists 31 sites of nationally important geological interest.
The board represents an island population of approximately 600 people and has particularly close contact with the community. Chatham Islanders have very strong ties to their land and resources, reflected by their livelihoods of fishing, farming and tourism. The board enjoys good working relationships with these groups. The board also consults and works with the two iwi on the Chatham Islands along with the Chatham Islands Council, Enterprise Trust and the Federated farmers.
Covenanted land is a strong feature of Chatham Island conservation with large areas of land under private protection through the Nature Heritage Fund and Nga Whenua Rahui Covenant.
Public lands administered by DOCt are managed under various categories and amount to 7% of the total islands land mass, which are represented in the following categories:
- 3 historic reserves 1280 ha
- 7 conservation areas 750 ha
- 9 scenic reserves 2900 ha
- 3 nature reserves 1570 ha
- 1 conservation area (lease) 1283 ha