Bounty Islands

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Bounty Islands
Bounty Islands map.png
Map of Bounty Islands
The position of the Bounty Islands relative to New Zealand, and other outlying islands.
Coordinates 47°45′S 179°03′E / 47.750°S 179.050°E / -47.750; 179.050Coordinates: 47°45′S 179°03′E / 47.750°S 179.050°E / -47.750; 179.050
Area 1.35 km2 (0.52 sq mi)
Population 0
Salvin's albatross in flight
The islands are important as a nesting site for Salvin's albatrosses
From Proclamation Island - looking South East.

The Bounty Islands are a small group of 13 uninhabited granite islets and numerous rocks, with a combined area of 135 ha (330 acres), in the south Pacific Ocean that are territorially part of New Zealand. They lie about 670 km (416 mi) east-south-east of the South Island of New Zealand, and 530 km (329 mi) south-west of the Chatham Islands. The group is a World Heritage Site.[1]


Captain William Bligh discovered the Bounty Islands en route from Spithead to Tahiti in 1788 and named them after his ship, HMS Bounty, just months before the famous mutiny. The location of the islands were only roughly marked on charts. In early 1866 Commander W H Norman of HMCS Victoria was tasked with determining more accurately their position. He reported them as being latitude 47ˈ50 South and longitude 179ˈ00 East.[2] Captain George Palmer, during the search for the Matoaka placed the islands at 47ˈ46ˈ24 South 178ˈ56ˈ45 East. Palmer also annexed the islands for New Zealand.[3]

During the 19th century the area were a popular hunting-ground for sealers.[4] The islands were also searched from time to time for missing ships and crews, including those from the General Grant and the Matoaka. [5]

The Hinemoa visited the islands in March 1886 and erected a depot for marooned sailors on the largest island. Captain Fairchild noted that there was no fresh water available on these islands.[6] The depot was destroyed by the sea by the time the Stella visited the island in 1887.[7] A new Admiralty chart 1022 was issued for the area in 1888, which took into account survey work undertaken by the Hinemoa.

In November 1891 the Hinemoa returned to the islands and built a fresh provisions storage.[8]

Flora and fauna[edit]

Ecologically, the islands are part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion. Plants include Cook's scurvy grass. The group is home to large numbers of seabirds.

Important Bird Area[edit]

The Bounty group has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because of its significance as a breeding site for erect-crested penguins, Salvin's albatrosses and Bounty shags.[9]


The whole chain is only 5 km (3.1 mi) across at its longest axis, and comprises three subgroups, the largest Main Group to the north-west, the Centre Group and the East Group. The total area is only 1.35 km2 (0.52 sq mi), and the highest point, on Funnel Island, is 73 metres (240 ft) above sea level. The islands are at the antipodes of Bouillé-Ménard, in France (Pays-de-la-Loire).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands. (2013-06-27). Retrieved on 2013-08-02.
  2. ^ Shipping, Lyttelton Times, Volume XXV, Issue 1609, 9 February 1866, Page 2
  3. ^ Proclamation, Otago Daily Times, Issue 2680, 8 September 1870, Page 2
  4. ^ Bluff Harbour, Southland Times , Issue 3773, 26 July 1880, Page 2
  5. ^ The missing boats crew, Hawke's Bay Herald, Volume 12, Issue 918, 18 February 1868, Page 3
  6. ^ The SS Hinemoa's trip, Press, Volume XLIII, Issue 6397, 22 March 1886, Page 2
  7. ^ The SS Stella's Visit to the Islands, Evening Post, Volume XXXIII, Issue 71, 25 March 1887, Page 3
  8. ^ The Hinemoa's Cruise, Oamaru Mail, Volume XVI, Issue 5125, 7 November 1891, Page 3
  9. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bounty Islands. Downloaded from on 2012-01-27.