Kermadecs: An Ocean Wilderness
- 431 fish species (32 percent of total fish species found in New Zealand)
- 11 percent of the total number of seabird species in the world are found here
- More than 3 million breeding pairs of seabirds
- Identified as a pristine place by National Geographic and Census of Marine Life in 2010
- Part of the world's longest chain of undersea volcanoes
- Home to crabs and shrimp that live near superheated water at hydrothermal vents
Imagine a place where underwater volcanoes, a deep sea trench, and extraordinary temperate and tropical marine life all exist together.
Welcome to the Kermadecs, one of the world’s last great wilderness areas.
Located between New Zealand’s North Island and Tonga, the15 islands and rocks of the Kermadecs are remote and rarely visited. From these islands, to the waters surrounding them, and the deep trench below, the Kermadecs is a place for exploration and discovery.
Straddling both tropical and temperate climates, the Kermadec region is home towhales and dolphins,sea birds,fish and deep sea marine life, and has some of the most geologically active and biologically unusual features on the planet.
The islands are part of the longest underwater volcanic arc on the planet. Mountain peaks here often sit just below the ocean surface, making for a wondrous world where volcanic landforms, hydrothermal vents, and stunning underwater features are still being discovered. At 10,000 meters (about six miles), the deepest ocean trench in the Southern Hemisphere and the second deepest on the planet—the Kermadec-Tonga Trench—is found here.
The Kermadec region is significant to New Zealand and the world. It provides an important safe haven for threatened species, and an underwater frontier that scientists are only now beginning to explore.
Follow Dr. Rebecca Priestley's expedition to the Kermadecs Island on Scientific American.