Stewart Island

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Kevin Saff
Stewart Island is the third largest island of New Zealand after the South Island and the North Island. It lies 30 km to the south of the South Island, separated from it by Foveaux Strait. With an area of 1,746 km² (674 mi²), it is far smaller than the two main islands, but is nearly twice the size of the next largest island, Chatham Island with 920 km² (355 mi²), and far bigger than all the other small islands of the temperate New Zealand archipelago.
Its original Maori name of Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui positions Stewart Island firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Translated as "The Anchor Stone of Maui's Canoe", this refers to the part played by this island in the legend of Maui and his crew who, from their canoe (the South Island), caught and raised the great fish, the North Island. However, the more commonly used name is Rakiura. Translated as "The great and deep blushing of Te Rakitamau", an early Maori chief, it is seen today as the glowing sunrises, sunsets and the aurora australis or Southern Lights.


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