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September 23, 1999 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-09-23

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The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazi

8B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, September 23, 1999


Photostory by Sam Hollenshead


Because of its rich history, finite resources, and complex human population, Chatham Island is a microcosm of humanity and the natural world. Located 870 kilometers east of the mainland of New Zealand, it is
one of the most culturally diverse islands in the world and due to it's close proximity to the international date line, it will be the first inhabited place on earth to experience the new millennium. The cultural diversity is
interconnected with its rich biological diversity which has continually attracted outsiders since the "discovery" of the island by William Broughton in 1791. The first Europeans after Broughton slaughtered whale and seal
populations to the abhorrence of the indigenous Moriori people who had been living peacefully. and sustainably on the island for nearly 400 years. As resources declined so did Moriori numbers.
While Europeans have generally been credited with most of the genocide that has occurred throughout the world during the past 500 years, the decimation of the Moriori on Chatham Island came not directly from
Europeans, but their Maori cousins from mainland New Zealand. In 1835, two Maori tribes came to the island prepared to take it over by force. Within days of their arrival the two tribes had killed 300 Morioris and enslaved
the rest that were not able to escape. The plight of the Moriori people only got worse over time as hundreds more died from the bondage of slavery and vulnerability to European diseases. Eventually, the last fully blooded
Moriori, Tommy Solomon, died in 1933.
Although the population of the island has changed over the years, the economy has not. The lives of islanders continues to revolve around natural resources. Today, the 700 local inhabitants, most of whom descend
from Moriori; Maori, and Europeans are connected to a lucrative fishing industry that can change drastically from year to year due to overfishing and government regulation. If they are to continue their way of life, Chatham
Islanders must maintain a delicate balance between resources and exploitation as they fish the subantarctic waters of the Pacific Ocean.
For more information on Chatham Island see hup://wwwchathnms.napiew:govt.n:/inlusnstri/ml or write to inf (Ichathans.govt.nz.

The mutable landscape of Chatham Island is a mixture of beauty and isolation.

"Out here we own the sea. We're the one


In the past century. thousands of boats have traversed the waters around
Chatham Island by people who have sometimes lost their lives in search of

Ancient tree carvings are some of the only physical remnants of the indigenous Moriori people that still exist on
Chatham Island.

A deckhand pulls in a "pot" of crayfish. A full pot can be worth as much as
$1,500 for a fisherman. The value increases tenfold when the catch reaches
the Asian market.

After living in Antarctica for six months as a teenager and then working on boats around the world, Ian
Malcolm decided to settle on Chatham Island to live out his days as a skipper on a fishing boat.

Because of they grow up with rough fisherman and harsh environmental conditions,
children on Chatham Island grow up much quicker than their New Zealand counter-

Everyday, thousands of pounds of fs

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