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  • Writer's pictureRose Parsons

What is it like on D’Urville Island?

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Rangitoto ki te Tonga; D’Urville Island, is on the western side of the outer Marlborough Sounds, jutting into the wildly beautiful Tunu Kuiti or Cook Strait.

It is perhaps, one of the most remote places in New Zealand to visit, guarded by the notorious eddies of the French Pass sea passage. It has an untouched, rugged vibe that is becoming increasingly rare. The effort to get there is worth it.

The island has a surprising amount of conservation reserve, around a third is under DoC stewardship, with the unique advantage of having no opossum or ship rat, but the biggest surprize is the size and high standard of some of the island’s sheep and cattle farms. Patuki , managed by Gus and Becs Forgan is a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Kapowai, the island’s ferry jetty. They love their life of isolation and self-reliance, punctuated from time to time by the arrival of their college aged children and friends, who go to the mainland for their secondary education.

Terry Savage lives at the far southern end of the island, a good 30 km away via a winding dirt road, he and his wife Sue retired to Kupe Bay after a life in the fast lane. Terry who is of Rangitane decent is knowledgeable about some of the early Māori culture and geological features of the area. Behind their home is a paddock with stone rows, formed by previous residents when it was a kumera garden.

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