Arapawa Island

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Arapawa Island is a small island located in the Marlborough Sounds, at the north east tip of the South Island of New Zealand. The island has a land area of 75 km2 (29 square miles). Queen Charlotte Sound defines its western side, while to the south lies Tory Channel, which is on the sea route from Wellington in the North Island to Picton.

It was from a hill on Arapawa Island in 1770 that Captain James Cook first saw the sea passage from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea, which was named Cook Strait. This discovery banished the fond notion of geographers that there existed a great southern continent, Terra Australis.

From the late 1820s until the mid 1960s, Arapawa Island was a base for whaling in the Sounds. John Guard established a shore station at Te Awaiti in 1827 for right whales. Later, the station at Perano Head on the east coast of the island was used to hunt humpback whales from 1911 to 1964 (see Whaling in New Zealand). The houses built by the Perano family are now operated as tourist accommodations.

Arapawa Island is known for the breeds of pigs, sheep and goats found only on the island. The origin of these breeds is unknown, and is a matter of some speculation. Common suggestions are that they are old English breeds introduced by the early whalers, or by Captain Cook or other early explorers, which are now extinct in England.


Aircraft accident

An elevated power cable from the mainland to Arapawa Island over Tory Channel was struck by an Air Albatross Cessna 402 commuter aircraft in 1985. The crash was witnessed by many passengers on the inter-island Cook Strait ferry. The ferry immediately stopped to dispatch a rescue lifeboat. Along with the two pilots, one entire family was lost, and all but a young girl from the other. No bodies were ever found. The sole survivor (Cindy Mosey) was travelling with her family and the other from Nelson to Wellington to attend a gymnastics competition. The Arapawa Island crash caused public confidence in Air Albatross to falter, contributing to the company going into liquidation in December of that year. Cindy went on to become an accomplished gymnast and in her 30s was three times world champion kitesurfer (2002, 2003 & 2004).

See also


External links

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