“Having reached the island which Quail Island raises to about 250 ft above the level of the harbour I landed at a shelly beach and ascended the hill in order to correct and complete my sketch. During my walk there I flushed several quail and from that circumstance I gave it the name Quail Island.”
So wrote Captain William Mein Smith in late 1842. Sadly, these quail that captured William’s attention so famously are our now extinct Native Quail, last seen in 1875.
Known to the Ngai Tahu as ‘Otamahua’ – a place where children collect eggs – it was a never a place of settlement. It was used to collect shellfish, bird’s eggs and flax.
Captain Smith had been voyaging down the east coast on the Middle (South) Island as the New Zealand Company’s Surveyor General looking for other locations for further settlements. On the way home to Wellington, the ship he was sailing on managed to get its shipwrecked. There were no recorded deaths.
For a more in depth look at Quail Island, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/gleigs-island-quail-island/
*image courtesy Plan My Play – http://planmyplay.co.nz*