ENDERBY & AUCKLAND ISLANDS
465 kilometers south of Bluff, the Auckland Islands are the remains of two volcanoes. The group has a total of 56,816 ha. With a length of 40 km and 12 km at its widest, Auckland Island is the largest with 45,889 ha, while Enderby Island, the northernmost and one of the three pest-free islands, is the third largest with 695 ha. Archaeological evidence shows that Maori did visit in the thirteenth century and the Ngai Tahu claim customary rights based on their oral tradition of expeditions to the islands and surrounding waters. In 1840, three scientific expeditions to Antarctica visited Auckland Island: the American Ringgold, the French Dumont d’Urville and the British James Clark Ross. All of them visited what today is Port Ross, the northeasternmost bay. So did a German scientific expedition to observe the transit of Venus in 1874.
Sheltered areas on the northern and eastern side of Auckland show rata forests and even though cattle, sheep, pigs and goats had been introduced in the nineteenth century playing havoc with the islands’ ecology, the group still has 196 native species of plants. Since Enderby Island and Auckland Island have a an abundance of albatross and petrels, and Sandy Bay on Enderby being one of the primary breeding grounds for New Zealand fur seals, the group was declared Auckland Islands Marine Sanctuary in 1993, UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, and Auckland Island – Motu Maha Marine Reserve in 2003 (stretching 12 nautical miles around the group, totaling 484,000 ha), protecting Southern right whale breeding grounds as well. 12 of the 44 bird species breeding on the islands are natives.