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Chatham Islands

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Chatham Islands
LocationSouthern Pacific Ocean
Coordinates44°02′S 176°26′W / 44.033°S 176.433°W / -44.033; -176.433Coordinates: 44°02′S 176°26′W / 44.033°S 176.433°W / -44.033; -176.433
Area966 km2 (373 sq mi)
Elevation299 m (981 ft)

The Chatham Islands are a New Zealand archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. They are about 800 kilometres (500 mi) east of the South Island of New Zealand. The archipelago is a cluster of about ten islands in 60-kilometre (37 mi) radius. The largest are Chatham Island and Pitt Island.

Some of these islands are now nature reserves to protect the unique flora and fauna. As of 2013 the islands had a resident population of 600.[1] The local economy depends largely on conservation, tourism, farming, and fishing.

The Chatham Islands became part of the Colony of New Zealand in 1842.[2]


Schist rocks, Kaingaroa beach

The Chatham Islands are part of the now largely submerged continent of Zealandia.

They are the only part of the Chatham Rise above sea level. This means the Chatham Islands are far from the Australian-Pacific plate boundary which causes New Zealand's geology.

The rocks are a Mesozoic schist basement covered by marine sedimentary rocks.[3] The rocks show sections of basalt from a series of eruptions. Volcanic activity has occurred multiple times since the Cretaceous.[4] At present there is no active volcanism near the Chatham Rise.


  1. "2013 Census QuickStats about a place: Chatham Islands Territory". Statistics New Zealand. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  2. "Moriori - The impact of new arrivals". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 
  3. Adams, C. J. (1979). "Age and correlation of volcanic rocks of Campbell Island and Metamorphic basement of the Campbell Plateau, South-west Pacific". New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 22 (6): 679–691. doi:10.1080/00288306.1979.10424176 . 
  4. Hoernle, K.; White, J.D.L.; Van Den Bogaard, P.; Hauff, F.; Coombs, D.S.; Werner, R.; Timm, C.; Garbe-Schönberg, D. et al. (2006-08-15). "Cenozoic intraplate volcanism on New Zealand: Upwelling induced by lithospheric removal" (in en). Earth and Planetary Science Letters 248 (1–2): 350–367. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2006.06.001 . ISSN 0012-821X .