About Ulva Island

Ulva Island is the largest of several small islands situated in Paterson Inlet (Te Whaka a Te Wera) encompassed in the Rakiura National Park, Stewart Island, New Zealand.

It has a land area of 266 hectares (roughly equal to 400 rugby pitches) combining dense native bush, sandy shores, rocky outcrops and approximately 4.5 kilometres of walking track for visitors to enjoy stepping back in time. 

Ulva Island Post Office, early 1900sCharles and Jessie Traill, the first pakeha residents of Ulva Island, built a Post Office in 1872 to cater for the mail boat arriving in Stewart Island waters.  A flag would be raised to alert workers and families in nearby settlements that mail had arrived and they would row or sail to Ulva Island to collect their post. 

In 1899 Ulva Island was reserved under the Land Act 1892 for the preservation of "native game and flora" and was one of the earliest reserves of this kind in New Zealand.

Just under eight hectares at Post Office Bay is now privately owned and the rest of the island is managed by the Department of Conservation.

Ulva Island gives us some idea of how New Zealand used to be.  It has never been logged, there have never been browsing possums, nor bird-eating stoats and ferrets.  With no deer or rats, nature has been free to function the way it has for centuries.