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Macauley Island is a volcanic island in New Zealand's Kermadec Islands, approximately halfway between New Zealand's North Island and Tonga in the southwest Pacific Ocean. Its co-ordinates are 30°14′S 178°26′W / 30.233°S 178.433°W / -30.233; -178.433Coordinates: 30°14′S 178°26′W / 30.233°S 178.433°W / -30.233; -178.433

Macauley Island
Macauley Island.PNG
View from the north-east, 2003
LocationSouth Pacific Ocean
Coordinates30°14S, 178°26W
ArchipelagoKermadec Islands
Area3.06 km2 (1.18 sq mi)
Length2.5 km (1.55 mi)
Width1.8 km (1.12 mi)
Highest elevation238 m (781 ft)
Highest pointMount Haszard
New Zealand
Additional information
Nature Reserve



Macauley Island is the second-largest of the Kermadec islands (after Raoul Island), and covers an area of 3.06 km2 (1.181 sq mi), including neighbouring Haszard Island, which is 220 m (722 ft) to the east and about 5 ha (12 acres) in area. The island's topography is simple, being a single high-sided plateau, with the soft rock of the island prone to the formation of deep water channels.[1] Macauley's highest point is 238 m (781 ft) Mount Haszard, and it forms part of the rim of a caldera centred 8 km (5 mi) to the north-west, atop a large submarine volcano. The volcano's last eruption was in 4360 BC ± 200 years, and was one of the largest known eruptions of the past 10,000, listed as VEI 7.


Polynesians are known to have visited the island, as evidenced by an obsidian flake found here whose source could be geochemically traced to Tūhua (Mayor Is) off Tauranga, New Zealand.[2][better source needed] Lieutenant John Watts, RN was the first European to visit Macauley and Curtis Islands — which he named after patrons George Mackenzie Macaulay, a London merchant and alderman and friend of, and William Curtis part owner of The Lady Penrhyn along with his brother Timothy — on the Lady Penrhyn in the late 1788.[3] Lady Penrhyn had delivered convicts to New South Wales as part of the First Fleet and was proceeding to the north west coast of America refer[4] to trade furs and thence to Macao.

A castaway depot was established on Macauley Island in 1889, which was regularly serviced until 1918.[1]

Flora and faunaEdit

The island is a breeding site for large numbers of black-winged and white-necked petrels. Other seabirds recorded as breeding there include grey noddies, sooty terns, masked boobies, red-tailed tropicbirds, wedge-tailed shearwaters, Kermadec little shearwaters, Kermadec petrels and Kermadec storm-petrels. The island also holds a population of the Kermadec red-crowned parakeet. Former populations of goats and kiore have been eradicated.[5] The island forms part of the Kermadec Islands Important Bird Area, identified as such by BirdLife International because it is an important site for nesting seabirds.[6]

The island’s flora is predominantly sedges and ferns, with Cyperus and Hypolepis prominent.[1]


The original forest cover of the island had been burnt off and goats were introduced as food for shipwreck survivors. The goats were eradicated by the New Zealand Wildlife Service in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In order to protect the island's wildlife, Macauley is managed as a nature reserve by the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). In 2006, DOC used aerial drops of poison bait in order to remove introduced rats.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c "Islands Archived 25 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine", Retrieved 18 November 2014.
  2. ^ Crowe, Andrew (2018). Pathway of the Birds. Auckland: David Bateman Ltd. p. 143.
  3. ^ Curtis was described on Sunday 1 June 1788 but not landed on as it appeared barren. Captain Sever and Mr Anstis 1st mate landed with some difficulty on Macauley Island on 1 June 1788 and hung a sealed quart bottle opposite the landing place with a note written by John Watts "Navis Lady Penrhyn 1st June 1788, Jno. Watts - Gulielmas Sever, Prost. Geo: IIId. Rex" Alderman Macaulay 1750-1803, The Worshipful Company of Bowyers, archived from the original on 18 January 2013, retrieved 23 February 2012
  4. ^ "The Journal of Arthur Boyes Smyth: Surgeon, Lady Penrhyn 1787-1789" Aust Doc Library Sydney ISBN 0 908219 00 8
  5. ^ Greene et al. (2004).
  6. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kermadec Islands. Downloaded from Archived 30 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine on 2012-02-03.


External linksEdit