Stewart Island is New Zealand’s third-largest island, and lies in the wild westerly belt south of the South Island.
A tapestry of rainforest, low scrub and wetlands, the majority of Stewart Island has been incorporated into Rakiura National Park, which is managed by the Department of Conservation.
While home to feral cats and rats, Stewart Island remains free of stoats, weasels and ferrets. This allowed kākāpō to hang on to survival in the Tin Range in southern Stewart Island until the early 1980s. All known kākāpō were translocated to safer islands between 1980 and 1992.
The last female – Solstice – was found there in June 1997, which means it is possible that a few kākāpō may still survive on far-flung parts of the island.
Stewart Island is a popular visitor destination for boaties and walkers during summer. It has just one small settlement, Oban, with a resident population of less than 500, and only a few kilometres of roading.