What’s the Weather like There?
It’s a very temperate climate and fairly good to visit all year round although September to March is recommended. Average temperatures are around 14°C in February and 8°C in July, but beware! Wind is common as are rapid weather changes so always be prepared! You might experience 4 seasons in 1 day! Annual rainfall is only around 800mm and extremes in temperature are rare. Summer tends to be clear and warm while winter brings an occasional frost.
What Language Do They Speak?
Currently the main language is English, but the indigenous language of the country was in fact Moriori, (closely related to Maori, sharing many similarities) an East Polynesian language still spoken by around 14% of the residents of the island.
I’ve Heard of the Chatham Islands Dollar, Do They Use Their Own Currency?
It does exist but it is not legal tender, some people use it in a barter-type system in the same way that you might exchange seashells or bottle tops and if both parties are agreeable to the transaction then that’s fine.
Is There A Time Difference?
Yes! It’s actually 45 minutes (don’t ask me why it’s not an hour) ahead of standard New Zealand time and they follow the same daylight saving dates as New Zealand.
Can I Get Around Using Public Transport?
Surprisingly, no.You can book a rental car but it is best to do this in advance to save disappointment. Most hotels will arrange transfers to and from the airport but it is always best to double check to be on the safe side!
Is There Wifi?
No, there are no public hotspots although many hotels would have internet access. It is worth pointing out that there is also no phone service so it’s worth having a phone card to call home!
Are There Emergency Services?
Yes, hurrah! But it is important to note that the population is small and therefore supplies are limited. They do have full medical services at Waitangi but it is never a bad idea to bring any medication you might need with you. Interestingly, they also have a voluntary ambulance and fire service! It is also possible to get an air ambulance to the mainland.
How Many People Live There?
A tiny population of around 600, most of them born there. Almost a quarter of the population is under 15 and the median age (according to a 2006 census) is 37.
What Do the People Do to Make Money?
Their economy is largely based on fishing and farming, which generates around 60% of their annual income. They also breed lambs and other livestock for sale on the mainland.
And What Do People Do For Fun?
There are a range of clubs for recreational sports such as football, netball, darts and golf. Plus, everyone tends to get together to celebrate all the public holidays. There’s a bunch of other social events including Jockey Club Annual Race meetings, a Yacht Club Fishing Competition and the Pighunting and Eeling Competition held annually.