Solander Island

Solander Islands

The Solander Islands are a small chain of uninhabited volcanic islets lying at , close to the western end of the Foveaux Strait in southern New Zealand. They lie some 38 km south of Prices Point on the southern coast of South Island, New Zealand, close where Lake Hakapoua drains through Big River to the Pacific Ocean due west of Te Waewae Bay, and 64 km WNW of the Putatara (Rugged) Point in the northwest of Stewart Island, or 56 km from Codfish Island west of Stewart Island. They measure about 0.7 km² in area. Administratively, they are part of Southland District.

The islands are remnants of an isolated extinct Pleistocene volcano with andesite rocks one to two million years old. They lie on a bank with depths less than 100 m, but are separated from the continental shelf around Foveaux Strait by a 4 km narrow trough with depths in excess of 200 m (at least 237 m). Therefore, the islands are included in the New Zealand Outlying Islands, despite their proximity to the mainland. The Solander Islands are the only New Zealand volcanic land features related to the subduction of the Australian Plate beneath the Pacific Plate.

A few thousand pairs of the southern subspecies of Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche b. bulleri) are commonly breeding on the islands. This subspecies is only found here and on The Snares. The flora is dominated by ferns and orchids. There are 53 vascular plant species, one third of which are very rare.

The main island, Solander Island/Hautere, covers some 65 ha in area, rising steeply to a peak 330 metres above sea level. It is wooded with the exception of its northeast end, which appears as bare, white rock. There is a deep cave on the east side, Sealers Cave.

Solander Islands have lots of wildlife, which are mainly endangered species such as the Bullers Albatross

Little Solander Island is 1.9 km west of the main island. It is 148 m high, with an area of 4 ha. It has a barren appearance and is guano-covered.

Pierced Rock is 250 m south of the main island. It rises to 54 m and measures just 2000 m² in area.

The island chain was sighted by Captain James Cook on 11 March 1770 and named by him for the Swedish naturalist Dr. Daniel Solander, one of the scientific crew aboard Cook's expedition's ship Endeavour. The Maori name Hautere translates into English as "flying wind", an apt description of the island's weather.

The island has only ever been briefly inhabited, and then only due to shipwreck or other marooning. Five Europeans were marooned here between 1808 and 1813, the longest continual period of habitation for the island group.

External links

References

  • Wise's New Zealand Guide (1969) Dunedin: H. Wise & Co.

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