Alison Ballance with a Chatham snipe that landed on her backpack, and view of South East Island from the shore platform (images: A. Ballance)
In part one of a new series about the natural world of the Chatham Islands, Alison Ballance heads to remote Rangatira, or South East Island. Rangatira is a nature reserve, and although it is small - just 219 hectares in area, with a highest point of 224 metres - it is the stronghold for some of New Zealand's rarest wildlife including New Zealand shore plovers, Chatham snipe and Chatham petrels. Black robin were translocated there in the 1980s, and it now has a population of 120-130 birds, with another 30 or so living on nearby Mangere Island. Department of Conservation ranger Abi Liddy gives Alison an introductory tour of the island and some of its special residents.
Unloading equipment on South East Island's shore platform, Abi Liddy weighing a bird, and island sign.
View of Pitt Island from South East Island summit, forest interior with seabird burrows honeycombing the forest floor, and view of The Clears (images: A. Ballance)