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Mokopuna Island facts for kids

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Mokopuna Island
Nickname: Leper Island
Mokopuna Island north of Matiu-Somes Island.jpg
Mokopuna Island, from Matiu/Somes Island
Coordinates 41°15′S 174°52′E / 41.250°S 174.867°E / -41.250; 174.867
Length 200 m (700 ft)
Width 80 m (260 ft)
Population 0

Mokopuna (the 'grandchild') Island is a small island in Wellington Harbour, New Zealand. It is about 200 metres (219 yd) on its long axis and about 80 metres (87 yd) across. It lies immediately north of the much larger Matiu/Somes Island, from which it is separated by a channel about 50 metres (55 yd) wide.

A number of wave-cut arches and caves line the shore. Today, Mokopuna is a bird reserve where gulls and blue penguins nest and where no landings are allowed.


For about three months in 1904, one of these caves was the home of one Kim Lee, a Cantonese fruiterer who had been diagnosed—possibly mistakenly—as a leper. Even though Matiu/Somes was the human quarantine station at the time, Lee was exiled to Mokopuna, where he was supplied with food and water by a flying fox from Matiu/Somes. Lee died on Mokopuna on 14 March 1904 and was buried on Matiu/Somes.

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