Codfish Island

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Codfish Island
Whenua Hou (Māori)
Stewart island2.png
Map of Stewart Island, with Codfish Island to the west.
Coordinates 46°47′S 167°38′E / 46.783°S 167.633°E / -46.783; 167.633
Total islands 1
Area 14 km2 (5.4 sq mi)
Highest elevation 249 m (817 ft)
Region Southland Region
Population (?)

Codfish Island or Whenua Hou is a small island (14 km2 or 5.4 sq mi) located to the west of Stewart Island/Rakiura in southern New Zealand. It reaches a height of 249 m (817 ft) close to the south coast. The English name refers to the endemic blue cod or rawaru / pakirikiri, which is fished commercially in surrounding waters by trapping in baited pots. Whenua Hou means "new land" in Maori.[1] Codfish Island is home to Sirocco, an internationally famous kakapo.


Following the eradication of possums and weka, Codfish is a predator-free bird sanctuary and the focus of kakapo recovery efforts. It holds the majority of the breeding population of critically endangered kakapo. Its most famous resident is Sirocco, a kakapo born in 1997; Sirocco was the government's "Official Spokesbird for Conservation" in 2010.[2][3]

Codfish Island is also home to southern short-tailed bats, kākā, fernbirds, red-fronted and yellow-crowned parakeets, little penguins, Pacific black ducks and a recently introduced population of yellowheads (mohua). The island has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of its significance as a breeding site for several species of seabirds, including Fiordland and yellow-eyed penguins, and mottled, Cook's and South Georgia diving petrels.[4]


The island is visited by scientific researchers and Department of Conservation field workers along with volunteers working on conservation programs. The sole hut is located at Sealer's Bay in the northeast, with access by light aircraft or helicopter. The island is closed to casual visitors and unauthorised landing is prohibited.

Tiny Codfish Island is home to about half the world's remaining kakapo

Coordinates: 46°47′S 167°38′E / 46.783°S 167.633°E / -46.783; 167.633

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Te Kohanga Ote Whenua Hou, pers comm
  2. ^ Milne, Amy (15 January 2010). "Sirocco chills out on Codfish Island". The Southland Times. Retrieved 15 June 2015. 
  3. ^ "Prime Minister Appoints 'Spokesbird' for Conservation". Tourism New Zealand. 29 January 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  4. ^ BirdLife International. (2012). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Codfish Island. Downloaded from on 31 January 2012.

External links[edit]