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ZL7A Chatham Islands

ZL7A Team will be active from Chatham Islands, IOTA OC - 038, 9 - 22 November 2023.
Team - JF1OCQ, JA1SVP, JE1SYN.
They will operate on 160 - 10m and also via SAT IO-117 on 430 mHz.
QSL via JF1OCQ direct.

Chatham Islands


The Chatham Islands are a New Zealand archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. Its geographical isolation has made it one of the most idyllic places on the planet. The sharp winds and cold climate only add to the appeal of these islands, and the incredible landscapes beckon with their splendour. Everyone who comes here is sure to think of staying here forever, so that there is no need to rush or worry about anything.

New Zealand consists of many large and small islands, Chatham has the status of its separate region. This archipelago is located at a distance of eight hundred kilometres from New Zealand and includes as many as 10 islands of different sizes, among which a special role is given to the two largest called Chatham and Pitt. The former is the centre of all social, administrative and cultural life in the archipelago, while the latter is home to about 40 people. The remaining islands are considered uninhabited.

The car is not a luxury, but the only means of transport

Chatham serves as the administrative centre. The main settlement on Chatham Island is Waitangi, which, despite its modest size, plays the role of the capital. The village has an administrative building, a museum, a church and a hospital. There are banks and shops, but no public transport. In the recent past, all the locals travelled around the island exclusively on horses, and then chose a more modern transport - the car. Nevertheless, horses can be found here quite often, sometimes in the most unexpected places, for example, they can graze near the hospital.

There is also a river Nairn, which periodically dries up, so it plays a purely decorative role and adds even more colour to the local scenery.


Uninvited guests

It is thought that the first inhabitants moved here in the fifteenth century. They were Maori who had left New Zealand. Scientists still argue about the reasons why the settlers left.

As the islanders led isolated lives and were separated from their closest relatives by significant distances, over time they developed their own unique culture and even began to call themselves by a new name - Moriori. The isolated islanders lived a peaceful lifestyle, with no wars, social or territorial disputes. For several centuries a prosperous life flourished here until the British navigator Robert Broughton and his ship approached the shores. The ship Chatham docked here on 29 November 1791 and it was in his honour that the island was given the name it still bears today. The island lost its isolation and became the property of the United Kingdom.

In the first years the archipelago was actively used by European hunters, who went here for walruses, seals and other exotic prey. Then missionaries came to the island, followed by the Maori, whom the peace-loving locals could not resist. Within a short period of time, many Moriori were killed, many were enslaved, and the people virtually ceased to exist.

What Chatham is to the British, Rekohu is to the islanders

Native islanders call their homeland Rekohu. Although the name given to the place by the British is fixed on the map, islanders are more familiar with the other name of their home.

Today, more than 70 per cent of the islanders are from European countries, and only a third of the islanders have distant ties to the Moriori. Incidentally, today there is a monument in honour of the last pure-blooded Moriori, Tommy Solomon, who died in 1933. No one knows who decided to mark the date of death of the island's last purebred, but the locals value and preserve their history, and every resident can tell without hesitation the date of the end of the great era when the island belonged entirely to the Moriori.

Nowadays, the heirs of the islanders consider themselves true Moriori and support the culture, language and traditions of their people in every possible way. According to the last census, which was conducted here in 2013, 738 New Zealanders call themselves Moriori.

Holidays are not for the faint-hearted

The tourism industry here is still in its infancy. Travellers are rarely seen here, and the more warm and hospitable the locals treat them. People who are bored with standard tour packages and tired of monotonous postcard views of promoted tropical resorts come here. Here there are no amusement parks and ancient ruins, as, however, there are no majestic castles, palaces and fortresses. But here everywhere reigns nature in its pristine incarnation, the magical power and appeal of which conquer and touch to the very depths of the soul.

The main wealth of the Chatham Islands are the national parks, each of which represents its own cosy corner of nature, ready to offer the guest something unique, fascinating and memorable for a lifetime.

There are no mosquitoes, dangerous animals or poisonous snakes on the island. But there are plenty of sharks! The locals have even invented an extreme entertainment, offering guests to dive into the water in a special cage and watch the bloodthirsty sea creatures in their natural environment. For those who don't want to watch the sharks, you can offer to taste them. In addition to sharks, local restaurants offer dishes of other, no less exotic seafood.


How lava rises in pillars

One of the interesting sights on Chatham Island are the basalt pillars. There are not many places on the planet where you can see these stone sculptures. One such place is the northern half of the rocky coastline of the island. This place, as well as other similar areas on the planet, is of great interest to scientists, it is associated with a lot of interesting legends, myths and legends. Scientists have their own opinion about the origin of these geometric formations: they believe that basalt columns appeared as a result of processes that occur during the cooling of lava after a volcanic eruption.

Leave to return

Today, the 960 square kilometre Chatham Archipelago islands are home to just over six hundred people. Such a small density is explained not only by the remoteness from New Zealand, which is called "the big land", but also by rather severe climatic conditions. The climate here is quite windy and damp, in winter there are often storms, and in the summer months the temperature rarely rises above +14 degrees centigrade.

For the most part, Chatham young people seek to get an education and continue their lives in New Zealand, but there are also those who, after receiving education, return to the island to contribute to its further development and improvement. By the way, those who choose New Zealand for their future life, love, appreciate and often visit their homeland.

Where to get the keys to the gates of the island

A significant number of the interesting attractions on Chatham Island are privately owned. In order to get there, you must obtain permission from each owner of a particular site, who will issue keys to their gates.

In fact, the island is a network of fenced plots, with unobstructed movement only on island roads. For those wishing to see for themselves the most magnificent parts of Chatham, it is easiest to contact the owners of the guesthouses, who can quickly make arrangements with the owner of each plot and organise a visit.

The way of life of the Chatham people is unhurried and peaceful. There is virtually no crime here, and police officers exist only because there are occasional accidents. Tourism on Chatham is just beginning to develop. Nevertheless, the number of visitors to this archipelago is increasing every year. Here come travellers from New Zealand, from the American continent, as well as from Australia. This place attracts surfers, fishermen, scuba divers, and fans of other water activities.

Undoubtedly, the main attraction of the islands is not a sea holiday, but every guest will certainly find something here that will give him a lot of positive impressions, emotions and memories.

ZL7A. Where are Chatham Islands located. Map.

ZL7A Chatham Islands. Sunrise 07-21-2024 at 19:08 GMT sunset at 04:36 GMT