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outlying island group of New Zealand, in the South Pacific Ocean, 290 miles (467 km) south of South Island. Volcanic in origin, they comprise six islands and several islets, with a total land area of 234 square miles (606 square km), and have a cool, humid, and windy climate. The islands' soils are generally poor, and shrub forests cover lower elevations. Animal life includes birds, wild cattle, fur seals, sea lions, and sea elephants. Auckland Island, the largest (179 square miles [463 square km]), rises to about 2,000 feet (600 m) and has a steep east coast that is indented by Carnley Harbour and Port Ross