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Chalky Island (New Zealand) facts for kids

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Chalky Island
Chalky Island Panorama Fiordland New Zealand Aotearoa.jpg
Chalky Island from the west
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Location Fiordland
Area 5.14 km2 (1.98 sq mi)
Highest elevation 151 m (495 ft)
Population 0

Chalky Island or Te Kākahu-o-Tamatea is an island in the southwest of New Zealand, and is part of Fiordland National Park. It lies at the entrance to Taiari / Chalky Inlet, next to Preservation Inlet, at the southwestern tip of the South Island, 10 kilometres (6 mi) northwest of Puysegur Point, 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of West Cape, and 140 kilometres (87 mi) west of Invercargill.

The island was known to Māori as te kākahu-o-Tamatea (the cloak of Tamatea), as according to oral tradition it was the place where the explorer Tamatea spread his cloak out to dry after being drenched by the sea. It was first charted by Captain James Cook in 1773, and was a base for sealers in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

In 1999 Chalky Island became the first nearshore island from which stoats were successfully eradicated by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, and it is now free of mammalian predators and is used as a bird sanctuary. Until 2005 it was one of only four refuges of the only flightless native parrot, the critically endangered kakapo, and is still a kakapo refuge. Other threatened endemic birds transferred to the island since the eradication of stoats include tieke (saddleback), mohua (yellowhead), little spotted kiwi, and orange-fronted kakariki. The Te Kakahu skink is endemic to the island. Dolphins, orcas, and southern right whales are sometimes seen in the bay.

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