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Cape Palliser

Coordinates: 41°36′49″S 175°17′25″E / 41.61361°S 175.29028°E / -41.61361; 175.29028
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Location of Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser is a promontory on the southern coast of New Zealand's North Island and is the southernmost point of the North Island; it is in fact considerably farther south than Nelson or Blenheim in the South Island.

It is located at the eastern end of Palliser Bay, 50 kilometres southeast of Wellington – 100 kilometres by road.

Cape Palliser and Lighthouse

A small settlement, Ngawi, is situated near Cape Palliser, where the main income comes from crayfish (southern rock lobster) fishing. Fishing boats are pushed into the sea on their trailers by bulldozers.[1]

Ngā Rā-a-Kupe, previously known as Kupe's Sail, is a nearby triangular upthrust of sedimentary rock shaped like a sail.[2] Maori history and the Kupe legend both feature Cape Palliser.[2][3] Cape Palliser was named in 1770 by Captain James Cook in honour of his friend Admiral Sir Hugh Palliser of the British Royal Navy.[1] On 7 March 2023, the name of the cape was officially gazetted as Cape Palliser / Mātakitaki-a-Kupe, following the enactment of the Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-a-Rua Claims Settlement Act 2022.[4] The Māori-language portion of the name refers to Kupe gazing out to sea from the location.[5]

The Cape Palliser Lighthouse is located here; it was first lit in 1897 but became automated in 1986.[6] It flashes twice every 20 seconds.[3]


Seal at Cape Palliser

Cape Palliser is home to a permanent fur seal colony. The rookery was found there in 1991, the first one found in the North Island in the 20th century, indicating that the seals are recovering from previous exploitation.[7][1]

Cape Palliser is also a breeding site for red-billed gulls. This species has the conservation status of "Nationally at risk" and is "Regionally Vulnerable" in the Wellington region.[8]

41°36′49″S 175°17′25″E / 41.61361°S 175.29028°E / -41.61361; 175.29028


  1. ^ a b c Schrader, Ben (2007). "Page 10. Palliser district". Te Ara – Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Stevens, Graeme (1966). "Kupe's sail". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Cape Palliser". Maritime NZ. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  4. ^ "NZGB notices – March 2023". New Zealand Geographic Board. Retrieved 11 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Place name detail: Cape Palliser". New Zealand Gazetteer. New Zealand Geographic Board.
  6. ^ Schrader, Ben (2015). "Cape Palliser lighthouse". Te Ara – the Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  7. ^ Dix, Bruce (1993). "A new record this century of a breeding colony in the North Island for the New Zealand fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 23 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1080/03036758.1993.10721212. ISSN 0303-6758.
  8. ^ McArthur, Nikki; Ray, Samantha; Crowe, Patrick; Bell, Mike (20 August 2019). A baseline survey of the indigenous bird values of the Wellington region coastline (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 February 2021.