44 degrees south, 176 degrees west … that is where you will find our home, Wharekauri, Rekohu known as the Chatham Islands, land of the misty skies. Way out in the Southern Ocean, 800km away from civilisation, we are literally on the edge of the Earth. It takes a certain type of character to survive in this kind of isolation, but for local people it’s simply a way of life.
For the 600-or-so people that live on the Chatham Islands, everything is self sufficient. There are no parking fines, no mobile phones and no worries … its the real feeling of raw freedom.
The ocean around the Chatham Islands is truly unique. Cold ocean currents from the south and warm currents from the north meet and mix, creating a rare carbon sink right on our doorstep. This generates nutrient-rich waters that provide food for phytoplankton (the lifeblood of our fish population) as well as creating a thriving marine eco-system. Our champion, the Chatham Island Blue Cod, enjoys a daily diet of Crayfish (Rock Lobster) and Paua (black abalone).
When our ancestors first set foot on the Chathams it was a land of plenty. They arrived as Moriori and Maori people, whalers and sealers, farmers and fishermen. They honored our lands and waters hundreds of years before us. As today’s guardians of the Chatham Islands, we continue to follow in their footsteps. Our fishery is managed under the New Zealand quota system, which limits the amount of seafood that can be taken out of the water annually. In everything we do, we aim to look after the Chathams today so it will continue to provide for our children tomorrow.