NPSNZ Field Trip: Pitt Island

Trip Leader: Sheryl

Trip Report:  Jillian

The seven of the original fourteen Chatham Islands NPS members, who stayed on an extra week, had such a superb time on Pitt Island, we feel it warrants a separate report.
This report collates input from Sheryl, Kath, Carolyn, Elizabeth, Ken & Kathy and Jillian.

The range of wild landscapes on Pitt Island (Rangiauria) was incredible; coastal, mountainous and impressive rolling pastures, with healthy looking stock. The tuff-wind sculptures above Kokowai Cove, were amazingly formed, and the incredibly ancient geological history at Waihere Bay with its fascinating volcanic rocks and fossilised wood was riveting. The jagged sharp ridge out to Sharks Tooth near Rangiauria Bluff was a daunting sight, and it’s distant green pasture was dotted with multicoloured Pitt Island (merino-saxon) sheep. There are wild pigs on Pitt Island, making a big mess.

We stayed at the wonderfully run and sited Flowerpot Lodge on Pitt Island. There used to be a windmill there, that at night sounded like a Dakota taking off, until our host Brent got fed up with it, and dropped it in the early hours one morning.

Our trip plan included flights to and from Pitt Island, but the plane never arrived. However our Pitt Island fishing boat transfer trips were great with relatively calm seas.

Much photographed and loved were beautiful friendly Tomtits, the Chatham Albatross on the way back in the fishing boat, and the Tuis that seemed attached to the toilet at the Caravan Reserve.
At Point Munning, on our last day back at the main island, leisurely time was enjoyed photographing a Pitt Island Shag family. We loved being able to sit for so long and enjoy their interaction. There were wekas below them in the rocks, amongst the seals.

Three of our group judged a speech competition at the local Pitt Island school. All eight children participated, aged from 7-12. The speeches were amazingly well researched, on a wide range of topical subjects. Most of the children began their speeches in Māori.

The Moriori and Māori influences on Pitt (and also on Chatham Island/Rēkohu) are profound and we found the people, and their culture fascinating. The Chatham Islands are where the Moriori developed their unique way of life.

We had to spend an extra day on Pitt Island due to wind & sea conditions that didn’t allow the fishing boat to come over from Owenga, but that suited us just fine! We had another long walk to see more shags, ending 5 wonderful days of much photography and walking – including even a campfire lunch. We spent our last two nights at the beautifully located Henga Lodge, enjoying more meals of blue cod, salad & chips.

What a memorable trip! and what a fabulous destination.
Many thanks are due to Sheryl for her wonderful ideas, planning and organisation.

To view more images please visit Flickr