Foveaux Strait

From Openwaterpedia
Foveaux Strait in New Zealand
John van Leeuwen, the first successful swimmer across the Foveaux Strait in New Zealand

Foveaux Strait (Māori: Te Ara a Kiwa) separates Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand's third largest island, from the South Island. The strait is a rough and often treacherous stretch of water. From the years 1998 to 2012 there were a total of 23 fatalities in the Strait.

The strait is about 130 km long (from Ruapuke Island to Little Solander Island), and it widens (from 14 km at Ruapuke Island to 50 km at Te Waewae Bay) and deepens (from 20 to 120 m) from east to west.


Captain Cook sighted the entrance to Foveaux Strait during his circumnavigation of the South Island in March 1770, but thought Stewart Island was joined to the mainland. The strait's European discoverer was Owen Folger Smith, who found it in 1804. It is named after Joseph Foveaux, Lieutenant-Governor of New South Wales at the time.

Channel Swimming

Successful swimmers include:

1. John van Leeuwen, 7 February 1963 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 13 hours 36 minutes)
2. Meda McKenzie, 20 March 1979 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 14 hours 0 minutes)
3. Belinda Shields, 24 March 1984 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 9 hours 53 minutes)
4. Michael Quinlivan, 13 February 1985 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 9 hours 41 minutes)
5. Sandra Blewett, 11 February 1988 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 12 hours 50 minutes)
6. Todd Utteridge, 15 February 1989 (Bluff to Stewart Island in 8 hours 40 minutes)
7. Wayne Evans, 11 February 2013 (Stewart Island to Bluff in 9 hours 20 minutes with a wetsuit)
8. Chloe Harris, 1 February 2016 (Stewart Island to Bluff in 8 hours 30 minutes and 5 seconds)
9. Jonathan Ridler, 22 February 2021 in 7 hours 52 minutes 14 seconds.

External links