Between 1941 and 1945 there were two coastal watching sites on the Auckland Islands, established for a clandestine operation (named Cape Expedition) charged with looking for enemy ships and aircraft in the vicinity.
However, such are the results of this first ever full archaeological survey of the Auckland Islands, combined with a remarkably rich historical record, that it provides a way forward for those of us who work in remote locations and in areas where the natural resources so crucially influence past and current human presence and vice versa.
The largest group is the Auckland Islands (total landmass of 600 square kilometres, 465 kilometres south of Bluff), home to a great diversity of wildlife including whales, seals, penguins, albatross and many other bird species.
Between 1833 and 1907, 11 ships and over one hundred lives were lost on the reefs and cliffs of the Auckland Islands.
13) They were then taken to Invercargill where Captain Musgrave raised a rescue ship in which he returned to the Auckland Islands to collect the two remaining crew members, who by then had nearly succumbed to starvation.
The Auckland Islands already had a small population of pigs, remnant of the earlier failed settlement, but Musgrave was the first to bring goats that were able to survive and reproduce in some parts of the islands on the exotic grasslands produced by the burning and over-sowing of the failed settlers.
The story of the Auckland Islands presents an interesting case in itself, but more generally it is one which resonates with a broader New Zealand seacoast and island story.
The prominence of the shearwaters, petrels and albatross indicate fowling during the September to May breeding period of these species in the Auckland Islands, but occupation during the winter cannot be ruled out.
About 650 years ago, Polynesians and their dogs settled at Sandy Bay in the subpolar Auckland Islands, during at least one summer--autumn period, but probably for only a few years at most.
However, the 2003 expedition to the Auckland Islands completes the first archaeological survey of prehistoric colonisation in each of the outlying archipelagos of South Polynesia: the Chathams, Kermadecs, Norfolk, Lord Howe and Subantarctic groups.
The Auckland Islands were probably settled from southern New Zealand via the Snares, from which an adze of early type has been recovered (Anderson & O'Regan 2000).
Prehistoric archaeology in the Auckland Islands, New Zealand Subantarctic region.