Tītī / Muttonbird Islands

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The Tītī / Muttonbird Islands are located near Stewart Island in the far south of New Zealand. The islands are not permanently inhabited, and are named for the traditional seasonal harvesting ("muttonbirding") of the sooty shearwater by Māori. These birds are known as "muttonbirds" due to their supposedly mutton-like taste.[1]

Muttonbird Islands
Native name:
Motu Tītī
New Zealand
PopulationSeasonally inhabited; no permanent population
Ethnic groupsRakiura Māori


In May 2006, the north-eastern chain was the scene of tragedy when the fishing boat Kotuku capsized with the loss of six lives, close to Women's Island.[2]


There are three chains, collectively referred to as the Muttonbird or Titi Islands. (The islands' official name is "Titi/Muttonbird Islands").[1] The north-eastern chain lies in Foveaux Strait, to the north-east of Stewart Island, between it and Ruapuke Island. A small eastern chain, south of Stewart Island's East Cape, also goes by the name of the Breaksea Islands. The southern chain lies to the south-west of Stewart Island.


North-eastern chain 46°51′S 168°15′E / 46.850°S 168.250°E / -46.850; 168.250
North, Women's, Edwards, Jacky Lee, Herekopare and Kanetetoe Islands; The Bunker Islets, and Fish Rock.
Eastern chain 47°06′S 168°12′E / 47.100°S 168.200°E / -47.100; 168.200
Rukawahakura, Takawini, Potuatua, Pomatakiarehua, Kaihuka and Wharepuaitaha Islands.
Southern, or south-western, chain 47°13′S 167°25′E / 47.217°S 167.417°E / -47.217; 167.417
Four distinct groups of islands make up the south-western chain. Close to Stewart island's south-westernmost point is Taukihepa/Big South Cape Island, close to which lie Poutama, Putauhina, Solomon, Kaimohu, Pukaparara, Tamaitemioka and Pohowaitai Islands and the Putauhina Nuggets. In the open sea 8 km to the north lie Big Moggy, Little Moggy and Mokinui Islands. To the east of these, close to Stewart Island, the 'Boat Group' consists of Big, Kundy, Betsy and Rat Islands. To the south of these lie the small rocky islets of The Brothers. The southern Muttonbird Islands have been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of their significance as a breeding site for sooty shearwaters, with over a million breeding pairs, and mottled petrels.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Titi/Muttonbird Islands". New Zealand Gazetteer. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 18 January 2019.
  2. ^ Kotuku tragedy highlights decaying fleet Archived 22 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Professional Skipper 63, May/June 2008, 80–81.
  3. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Southern Muttonbird Islands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 1 February 2012.

External linksEdit