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Stewart Island

Stewart Island/Rakiura is New Zealand’s third-largest island and southern-most settlement. With sheltered inlets, forested hills, rugged coasts, dunes, swamps, scattered islets and bizarre granite outcrops, it is remarkable for its variety of landscapes. It has a long history of Māori habitation, and sealers and whalers also lived there from around 1800. In the 2000s it had a small permanent population, but was visited by around 30,000 tourists each year.

Meaning of place name
Rakiura, the island’s Māori name, means ‘glowing skies’, a reference to the southern lights, aurora australis, which can sometimes be seen from the island. The English name, Stewart Island, is in honour of William Stewart, first mate on the sealer Pegasus, who charted Port Pegasus in 1809.