The Auckland Islands are an archipelago of the New Zealand lying 360 kilometres south of Stewart Island, and 465 kilometres from the South Island port of Bluff. It includes Auckland Island, Adams Island, Enderby Island, Disappointment Island, Ewing Island, Rose Island, Dundas Island and Green Island, with a combined area of 625 square kilometres. The islands are close to each other, separated by narrow channels, and the coastline is rugged, with numerous deep inlets.
Most of the islands originated volcanically, with the archipelago dominated by two 12 million year old Miocene volcanoes, subsequently eroded and dissected. These rest on older volcanic rocks 15-25 million years old with some older granites and fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks from around 100 million years ago.
Evidence exists that Polynesian voyagers first discovered the Auckland Islands. Traces of Polynesian settlement, possibly dating to the 13th century, have been found by archaeologists on Enderby Island. This is the most southerly settlement by Polynesians yet known.
Now uninhabited, the islands saw unsuccessful settlements in the mid-19th century. In 1842 a small party of Māori and their Moriori slaves from the Chatham Islands migrated to the archipelago, surviving for some 20 years on sealing and flax growing. Samuel Enderby's grandson, Charles Enderby, proposed a community based on agriculture and whaling in 1846. This settlement, established at Port Ross in 1849 and named Hardwicke, lasted only two and a half years.
Ecologically, the Auckland Islands form part of the Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundra ecoregion. Along with other New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.