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Chatham Islands
Native name:
Chatham Islands from space ISS005-E-15265.jpg
The two largest islands: Chatham and Pitt Island, to the southeast
Chatham Islands in New Zealand (zoom).svg
Location of the Chatham Islands
Location Southern Pacific Ocean
Total islands 10
Major islands
Area 966 km2 (373 sq mi)
Highest elevation 299 m (981 ft)
Largest settlement Waitangi
Population 600 (2013 census)
Additional information
Time zone
 • Summer (DST)
  • CHADT (UTC+13:45)

The Chatham Islands are a New Zealand archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. They are about 800 kilometres (500 mi) east of the South Island of New Zealand. The archipelago is a cluster of about ten islands in 60-kilometre (37 mi) radius. The largest are Chatham Island and Pitt Island.

Some of these islands are now nature reserves to protect the unique flora and fauna. As of 2013 the islands had a resident population of 600. The local economy depends largely on conservation, tourism, farming, and fishing.

The Chatham Islands became part of the Colony of New Zealand in 1842.


Schist formations, Kaingaroa, Chatham Islands
Schist rocks, Kaingaroa beach

The Chatham Islands are part of the now largely submerged continent of Zealandia.

They are the only part of the Chatham Rise above sea level. This means the Chatham Islands are far from the Australian-Pacific plate boundary which causes New Zealand's geology.

The rocks are a Mesozoic schist basement covered by marine sedimentary rocks. The rocks show sections of basalt from a series of eruptions. Volcanic activity has occurred multiple times since the Cretaceous. At present there is no active volcanism near the Chatham Rise.

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