Snares Islands (New Zealand)

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Region
Australia - New Zealand - Pacific Ocean Islands

Coordinates
-48.04227 S, 166.57977 E

  Port Map

Snares Islands (also known as The Snares or Tini Heke), is a small island group located about 200 km (124 ml) south of New Zealand's South Island and to the southwest of Stewart Island. The islands cover a total area of approx 3,5 km2 (1,35 ml2) and have a population of around 50 people.

  • The Snares consist of North East Island, which is the main one, and the smaller Broughton as well as the Western Chain Islands 5 km (3,1 ml) to the south-west. 
  • The island group was sighted for the first time by Europeans on November 23, 1791 independently by the a couple of ships HMS Discovery under Capt. George Vancouver (1757-1798), and HMS Chatham commanded by Lieut. William R. Broughton (1762-1821), both of Vancouver Expedition. Captain Vancouver named the islands "The Snares" as he considered them a shipping threat.
  • The islands of Snares were already known to the Maori. They named one of the bigger islands "The sea-monster" (Te Taniwha). Unlike other subantarctic isles which were greatly affected by the sealing and whaling industry during the 19th century, Snares Islands remain one of the last pristine regions in New Zealand.
  • Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 altered the name of the islands to "Snares Islands/Tini Heke", which is one of the many such changes under Ngai Tahu Treaty settlement.
  • Snares Islands enjoy a status of high protection. They are rated as "minimum impact islands" by New Zealand Department of Conservation. Landing on Snares Islands is prohibited or only by special research permit.
  • Snares Islands area is among the five subantarctic island groups that form the New Zealand Subantarctic Islands, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

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