|Introduction to this large section on the Kermadec Islands. (3 pages, on this page)|
|Location, topography, geography and geology of the island groups. (4 pages.)|
|Some terrestrial, but mostly marine ecology. (11 pages)|
|Short history and time line. (6 pages)|
|Dive information and popular dive sites. (7 pages)|
|A visit to the island. Some images of Raoul. (5 pages)|
|Over 120 beautiful photographs of the environment, the famous big groupers, firefishes, fishes, corals, crustaceans, echinoderms and more. Annotated with interesting facts. (43 pages)|
|Related information on this web site:
Oceanography/tides: how the tide works.
Oceanography/circulation: how winds and currents arise.
|Books and references (on this page)
Internet links (on this page)
|A log of recent changes to this section (on this page)|
Note! for best printed results, set your page up with
a left margin of 1.5cm (0.6") and right margin of 1.0cm (0.4")
The whole section covers about 4.0MB, over 220 files, 80 printed pages, including text, drawings and photographs.
For corrections, suggestions and improvements, e-mail me.
-- home -- issues index -- marine reserves index -- Kermadecs index- site map -- Rev:20020705,20020719,20020904,20060324,20070719
The Kermadec Islands are New Zealand's northernmost territories, extending its Exclusive Economic Zone by a substantial amount, although the islands themselves are only very small outcrops. In 1990 the sea around these islands was declared a no-take marine reserve, extending 12 nautical miles (22km) out in the ocean. With its 7480km2 area, it will for a long time remain New Zealand's largest marine reserve.
The reason this particular marine reserve has attracted so much attention on this web site, is that very little is known about it and even less published and less still, publicly accessible. As far as can be ascertained, this marine reserve is successful in protecting the marine environment, which appears to have no other threats but exploitation. By the sheer awkwardness of its location, the marine environment has been spared the ravages of fishing by commercial and amateur fishermen alike (it is not economic). Very few people will be lucky enough to visit these islands, yet many should know about them. This section has been written for divers and students, and anyone interested to learn more about this jewel in the crown of New Zealand marine reserves. When left alone, and once the islands have been rid of cats and rats, the chance is high that bird life will return, and ultimately the state of the environment to what it once was, one of the last pristine and undisturbed places on Earth.
The chapter on geography shows where the islands are located, also in relation to large geographical features such as the Kermadec Ridge and the Kermadec Trench. Geography and geology are indistinguishable when it comes to explain the origins of these islands and their present state.
The chapter on ecology touches on the terrestrial ecology, but pays most attention to the marine ecology. The seascapes with their corals have no resemblance to the ones surrounding the mainlands of New Zealand, and this begs explanation. We observed signs of stress, even though human influence is negligible. Apparrently, living in a very small spot, surrounded by a very large infertile ocean ('desert'), is difficult for sea creatures. The possible reasons are investigated. Finally, the amount of sea and bird life cannot readily be explained from the infertility of the surrounding ocean, so other factors must be at work to disperse the nutrients of life. The conclusion is that the natural environment of these islands is fragile and that the only logical consequence is to protect it completely from human intervention. This is indeed the Government's plan.
The chapter on the history of the islands is fascinating, and details how difficult it is for people to inhabit a small spot surrounded by a large, infertile ocean. In this respect, humans make no exception to the rules of nature.By means of a timeline, hundreds of years of history compress to an interesting summary.
The chapter on diving marks suitable dive spots, as a useful record for visiting divers. It is hoped that they too, will share their experiences by contributing to this chapter.
A description of this area would not be complete without a visit to Raoul Island, presented in several selected images.
The photo galleries make up the bulk of this section, illustrating in
vivid colours what the underwater environment looks like. It takes the
reader on a tour of habitats, giant groupers, frilly lionfish, other fishes,
corals, crustaceans, and so on.
For suggestions, corrections and comments, please e-mail
References in blue are available from the Seafriends Library
-- home -- top --