Te Punga o Te Waka a Maui, the original Maori name, positions Stewart Island firmly at the heart of Maori mythology. Translated as The Anchor Stone of Maui's Canoe, it 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). Stewart Island / Rakiura is the third-largest island of New Zealand. It lies 30 kilometres south of the South Island, across Foveaux Strait. Its permanent population is 381 people as of the 2013 census, most of whom live in the settlement of Oban.
Over 85% of the island is National Park, and most people come here for the hiking and birdwatching. The island has just 28km of road, but 280km of walking tracks suited to short waks, day walks and multi-day hikes. Walk the three-day Rakiura Track and you will get the full experience of Stewart Island’s wild beauty.