Quarantine Island / Kamau Taurua

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Quarantine Island
Kamau Taurua (Māori)
Looking across Port Chalmers to the Otago Peninsula. Quarantine Island is visible to the left of the picture, and Goat Island in the centre.
Location Otago Harbour
Coordinates 45°49′42″S 170°37′59″E / 45.828216°S 170.633104°E / -45.828216; 170.633104
Area 15 ha (37 acres)
Quarantine Island from above the Portobello Marine Laboratory on Otago Peninsula. The remaining building of the quarantine quarters is the two storied building in the centre. It is currently (2010) being weatherproofed as part of its restoration.

Quarantine Island / Kamau Taurua is the largest island in Otago Harbour, close to the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. The island is also known locally and historically as Saint Martin Island, or (incorrectly) as Saint Martin's Island.

The island covers an area of 15 hectares (37 acres), and is mainly a publicly accessible recreation reserve. The major buildings on the island are listed with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust[1] and owned by the St Martin Island Community.

The island served as the quarantine station for Otago from 1863 until 1924. When ships arrived in Otago harbour with infectious diseases, the passengers were sent to Quarantine Island until they were well or died. There is a small cemetery on the island.

Only one of the quarantine buildings from these years is still standing, and this has currently begun to be restored. It has a NZ Historic Places Trust Category 1 classification. After the quarantine station closed the island was leased. Now the area around the buildings is leased by St Martin Island Community, established in 1958 for work and worship on the island, and the remainder jointly managed by the Department of Conservation and the Community. For 50 years there has been a great deal of, still ongoing, reforestation and replanting.

In 1996 as part of the Ngai Tahu settlement the name of Kamau Taurua,[2] meaning 'a place to set nets' was restored as part of the official name.[3]

A smaller island, Goat Island/Rangiriri, lies close to Quarantine Island. Both islands lie across the harbour between the town of Port Chalmers and the marine laboratory on Portobello Peninsula, part of the Otago Peninsula.

Quarantine Island, northeastern side

Coordinates: 45°49′42″S 170°37′59″E / 45.828216°S 170.633104°E / -45.828216; 170.633104

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Quarantine Island/Kamau Taurua Historic Area". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  2. ^ "List of place names to be amended". New Zealand Government. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 
  3. ^ "Place Name Detail: Quarantine Island / Kamau Taurua". New Zealand Geographic Placenames Database. Land Information New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-01-24. 


  • Peat, N & Patrick, B (2002) Wild Dunedin, University of Otago Press, Dunedin
  • Russell and McGeorge, P (2004) New Zealand's Islands, Bateman. [1]
  • Herd, J. & Griffiths, G.J. (1980). Discovering Dunedin. John McIndoe. ISBN 0-86868-030-3.
  • Hancock, L (2008) Quarantine Island / Kamau Taurua (St Martin Island) A short history St Martin Island Community, Dunedin. ISBN 978-0-473-14209-4 [2]

External links[edit]