Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.


Ruapuke Island, in the eastern approaches to Foveaux Strait, covers about 3,500 acres. It was formerly a local Maori stronghold supporting a population of about 200, whose chief was the famous Tuhawaiki. It was also the site of a mission station established by the Rev. J. F. H. Wöhlers in 1843. The island is of low relief and is swampy in places. There are several small, fresh or brackish lagoons separated from the sea by sand bars. Some forest remains, but most of the island is now either scrub or open land used for sheep grazing. Geologically it is composed of crystalline metamorphic and igneous rocks similar to those at Bluff and on the north-east corner of Stewart Island. The name means “two hills”.

by William Asher Watters, M.SC., PH.D., New Zealand Geological Survey, Lower Hutt.

  • Memories of the Life of J. F. H. Wöhlers: Missionary at Ruapuke, New Zealand, Houghton, J. (1895).

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