Foveaux Strait, between the South Island and Stewart Island, has a fearsome reputation as a rough stretch of water, right in the path of the Roaring Forties with no land east or west until you hit South America. Mostly flat-floored and just 20–30m deep, this causes waves to rear up and further compound the discomfort of ferry passengers and those out harvesting the strait’s bounty.

The best-known foodstuff pulled from the waters hereabouts is the sweet Bluff oysters, a highly sought-after delicacy dredged from April until September then processed in local oyster sheds before being sent all over the country.

Foveaux Strait is also home to a cluster of overgrown rocks known as the Titi or Muttonbird Islands, where local Maori have the traditional right to harvest sooty shearwater chicks in April and early May. These muttonbirds (titi in Maori) are regarded as a delicacy, though the anchovy-duck flavour is something few Pakeha acquire.

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