Story: Wellington region

Matiu (Somes Island)

Matiu (Somes Island)

Before European settlement, Māori had occupied the island of Matiu for generations. It was later named Somes Island, and in the 19th century became a quarantine station for people and livestock. During the two world wars, people identified as ‘enemy aliens’ were interned there. Since 1995 the Department of Conservation has administered the island as a sanctuary for endangered species. It is now home to tuatara (lizard-like reptiles) and a number of rare bird species, including kākāriki.

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Photograph by Chris Maclean

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How to cite this page:

Chris Maclean, 'Wellington region - Plants and animals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/13189/matiu-somes-island (accessed 24 July 2019)

Story by Chris Maclean, updated 1 Aug 2015