PITT ISLAND (in Chatham Island group)
Now, I do have to tell you that you are not on an official Pitt Island site. I am merely an emergency staffing teacher who has begged to come here for a school term. Having taught on Chatham Island twice previously at Te One School and Kaiangaroa School I had gleened enough information to realise that Pitt Island was different again and I wanted to see with my own eyes - and through the camera lens.

A lot of photos I take are representative of Pitt Is., but there are some that aren't, but I like the composition. I travel to Asia every year and take photos of windows, doors, rubbish bins or brooms that take my fancy. So please don't be offended by some of my photos you local Islanders.

The flight from Chatham to Pitt only took 20 minutes, and Tim, the pilot, was very considerate and flew higher than usual so I could get a look at the whole island as we approached. Also he flew right to the end of the island before doubling back to the grassy paddock where we landed (about half way down the island). There is a building there though - an outhouse!. As he came in he did a very sharp turn that sort of freaked me out a bit - like 90 degrees to horizontal! The chairperson of the school BOT was there to meet us and we travelled along the dirt track back to the northern part of the island where most of the 26 odd adults live. There is no settlement as such, the houses are very spread out on farms. One of my five students comes by motor bike some distance but the rest are within walking or pushbike distance. Pitt Is is a lot more hilly than Chatham. These photos are of the approach to Pitt, the islands off it, and landing.

There is a really weird wee conical island off to the very south of Pitt, included it in the photos even though it's so hazy. It looks like something manmade - just doesn't look like it belongs there. I've since fond out it is locally named The Pyramid.


My first venture from the house was mid week the first week I was here. Up until then the weather was not lending itself to outdoor activities. The school and house are a fifteen minute walk up the track from the beach and a ten minute walk down to the beach. I have a view between a couple of hills of the sea and Chatham Island (when it's not obscured by cloud and rain). On one side of the beach is the wharf - not a wharf as you know it - more like an enlarged jetty. There is a rocky outcrop that you can get around at low tide to some caves - I haven't caught the right tide to do that yet. The wharf area is only exposed to the sea on two sides but only one side is deep enough for boats to moor beside - the top end has rocks just below the surface and the other side has rocks built up on those that would naturally have been there - these are for protection as the sea would otherwise break over the wharf with even a medium sea at high tide. I would hate to think what it was like down there during a rough sea sea.

                             The Wharf and Barge                                                        Behind the Church

Up from the wharf is a big shed and beside that is what they call the barge - a motorised metal boat that goes out to the ship when it comes to Pitt. It has a big flat deck on the front. As the ship is in today, I will go down after school today and take some photos of that operation so will talk about it later.
The track (road) that goes from one length of the island to the other is one lane and suitable for 4 wheel drive vehicles only in a lot of places. It is hilly terrain but from each hill you get a good view, either out to sea or across farmland. On the walk down to the beach you pass the church - Our Lady of something. Apparently there are interdenominational services held some Sundays. There is very little bush this end of the island - just a few pockets in the odd gully. The houses have trees planted around them for protection but there are few others around.
Now these photos are of a few views on the walk down to the beach and the school house area.

                               The Main Drag                                                        The School and School House


Now, I am going out of the order I intended as yesterday I ventured down, in the rain, to the wharf to watch and photograph the loading operation of the cattle. A small ship frequents the island none too frequently, making the receiving of essential supplies a real juggling art. For food and mail it is not too bad as the island is now promoting tourism over the summer months - you fly onto and off the island the same day as their is no accomodation available as yet (there is talk of building a lodge).
Everyone has generators for electricity. I have two (one being a backup that I fire up once a week). Mine does the house and school and I run it from about 8.00-12.30 - this charges up batteries that we run on for the remainder of the day and the evening. It is just a matter of pressing the green button to stert it and the red one to stop it and flicking two switches if I change over generators. These, of course, all need deisel to operate as do the fishing boats and our deisel ranges for heating. They use a metal barge to get goods and stock on and off the island. The ship stops a few hundred meters out from the shore and everything is transferred. This is easier from the ship as it has a crane. When stuff arrives back at the wharf on the barge, there is a digger type thing (you will see it in the photos), that lifts heavy stuff with a hook it has on the end. In these photos it is holding up the ramp that the cattle were shoved down to get on the barge. You will vaguely be able to see there is also a ramp on the side of the ship that the stock go up to get from the barge to the ship. Yesterday there was too big a roll for me to consider venturing out on the barge to watch, but the locals call that a calm day! Yes they do lose stock overboard at times and some swim back to shore!
Fuel comes in big squarish plastic containers in metal cages. Think you can see some in wharf photos of on house photo already sent.
As you will see from this set of photos, horses are sometimes still used for mustering. The horses on the island are part clydesdale - big with big feet. The wharf area was absolutley thick with cattle excretment - wish I'd thought to change into by gumboots before going down. There is another boat due on the 29th and that one has all the fuel and peoples groceries on board. I have been getting mine from the online woolworths in Wellington and it's been coming over by plane - an extra $66 freight on $190 worth of groceries! But you can't depend on it coming before the veges go rotten. I've struck it lucky so far but my next lot will have to come over by fishing boat as pilot off back to NZ at the end of this week and they're not expecting to employ a new one until next summer!

These young cattle beasts were being sent to Chathams for fattening as too many for Pitt, as it was a whole lot were shot. Over 500 went out on this ship. Effectively given away, and recipient just paid shipping costs.
You will note fuel containers in forground of a couple of the photos.
I haven't altered these in any way except lightening up a couple so you can see more detail.