New Zealand Walk: Ma­tia/Somes Is­land has a long his­tory

Walking New Zealand - - Contents -

For such a small is­land, Matiu/ Somes has a big his­tory! The is­land was given its Maori name by Kupe 1000 years ago. Af­ter Euro­pean set­tle­ment the is­land was named af­ter the Deputy Gov­er­nor of the New Zealand Com­pany, Joseph Somes.

In 1997, in recog­ni­tion of its bi­cul­tural her­itage, the Geo­graphic Board as­signed the is­land its cur­rent name of MatiuSomes Is­land.

Its har­bour lo­ca­tion made it an ideal lo­ca­tion for New Zealand’s first in­ner har­bour light­house, a hu­man quar­an­tine sta­tion, an in­tern­ment camp, mil­i­tary de­fence po­si­tion, and an an­i­mal quar­an­tine sta­tion.

Open to the pub­lic since 1995, the shroud of se­crecy has been lifted from the is­land and its sto­ries and relics of old are wait­ing to be ex­plored.

So pack a picnic and jump on the ferry. En­joy the fan­tas­tic 360º views of the har­bour while in­ter­act­ing with some of New Zealand’s rarer na­tive species.

Explore rem­nants from both world wars, his­toric quar­an­tine build­ings, the light­house, arte­facts from the is­land’s past, and pause at the mon­u­ment to those who died while con­fined on the is­land.

Above: Somes Is­land in the cen­tre of Welling­ton Har­bour. The oil stor­age tanks at Seav­iew can be seen to the right with the Pe­tone fore­shore to the left. Mid­dle:: The only wharf, shel­ter and toi­let fa­cil­i­ties at Somes Is­land with the main road up to the top. Be­low left: Look­ing out into Welling­ton Har­bour. Be­low right: Two walk­ers take off on one of the walks.

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