An isolated island paradise
Lying about 1000km northeast of New Zealand and stretching 250km along the western ridge of the Kermadec Trench, the 15 islands and rocks of the Kermadecs are part of the world's longest chain of undersea volcanoes and have been identified as one of the very few pristine marine areas left on the planet. A third of all known New Zealand fish, 11% of the planet's seabird species, whales, dolphins, turtles and other deep sea marine life call the Kermadecs home, and the area is already New Zealand's largest marine reserve. Apart from Rangitahua/Raoul Island, where the Department of Conservation maintains a staffed field station, the islands are uninhabited and very few New Zealanders will ever have the chance to visit them. Two northern iwi with connections to the Kermadec Islands are Ngāti Kuri and Te Aupōuri.
The Kermadec region - between New Zealand's North Island and Tonga - is one of the last relatively untouched wilderness areas on the planet. The product of violent collision between two continental plates, it is globally significant for its geology. It is a cradle of life: a place isolated by deep water, with an arc of undersea volcanoes stretching its length. It teems with birds, whales, dolphins, fish, turtles and other unique sea creatures, many of which exist only there.
Due to the Kermadecs isolation, it is a mecca for scientists who are fortunate to come and study this pristine and untouched environment. The discoveries scientists make in the Kermadecs help us to gain an understanding of our planet's systems and gives insight on how we can look after it for the future.