According to the most recent census in 2018, there are 408 permanent inhabitants on the island. The island itself spans more than 1700 square kilometers, which includes the offshore islands. The most sizable offshore islands are Ruapuke Island, Codfish Island, and Big South Cape Island. The population density is extremely low, as there are 0.25 people per square kilometer.
The 408 souls are a huge increase from the 2013 census, which shows a growth of about 7.9% from 378. This was after a drastic decline since 2006 when the population was recorded to be 402 people. There are more males than females on the island, with a ratio of 1.11 men to women, and a median age of 49.3 years, which is much higher than the national average of 37.4. The increased ratio of males to females has decreased the birth rate on the island, especially due to the aging population. 93.4% of the population identifies as being a mix of European and Pakeha, with almost 68% of people saying they had no religion (of those who responded to the survey).
Stewart Island is known as New Zealand's third-largest island and is located 16 nautical miles south of the principal region in the Maritimes, the South Island. It has a roughly triangular shape and the coastline is deeply creased by Port Pegasus and Mason bay. The topography of the island is extraordinarily hilly and densely forested. One of the most spectacular sights of the island is the flightless birds, which include penguins. While they're considered to only live in the antarctic, many species of penguins live in some remote areas that are farther away from their routinely colder climate, as there are no predators to think about their population. Over 80 percent of the island is set aside as a national park, which limits the growth of the population.
Of course, the island's economy is largely agrarian and depends on fishing. Due to the hilly environment, much of the food must come from the sea rather than be grown at a renewable rate. In recent years, there has been some summer tourism to the island for tours, fishing trips and to enjoy the natural landscape of the island. There is only one city on the island, which is called Oban and is located on the eastern side of the island.
The island is an important part of Maori mythology. The Maori name for the island is Te Punga o Te Waka A Maui, which is translated as 'The Anchor Stone of Maui's Canoe". The legend tells of how the island had played into the legend of Maui and his crew, who caught and raised the great fish, the North Island, from their canoe (South Island). In contrast to the widely known aurora borealis, you can see the "Glowing Skies" of the island known as the aurora australis, aptly nicknamed "The Southern Lights".