PM makes first trip to Stewart Island

John Key on a water taxi at Stewart Island (Dave Goosselink / Newshub.)
John Key on a water taxi at Stewart Island (Dave Goosselink / Newshub.)

Prime Minister John Key ventured into new territory today.

He made his first-ever visit to Ulva Island at the bottom of the country and a long overdue return to Stewart Island.

John Key was just 10 years old when he last visited Stewart Island and this is his first time back since becoming Prime Minister.

This morning he jumped on a water taxi to visit two aquaculture businesses in Big Glory Bay - a salmon farm and an oyster farm - and taste-testing was top of the agenda.

"I'm doing it for my country!" he said.

Among the sights on his must-do list was a walk around Ulva Island.

The 270-hectare predator-free sanctuary has abundant native birdlife and forest, surrounded by a marine reserve.

Mr Key was keen to take a look at the extensive work done by the Department of Conservation.

"I wanted to wander around and have a bit of a look and take my own assessment of it."

He was given a warm welcome at Stewart Island's only school, although he's not the most famous person these 29 students have met -- that honour belongs to Prince Harry, who visited in May last year.

Halfmoon Bay School made international headlines last year after a promotion to attract new families to bolster its roll and save their second teacher.

The Prime Minister says he's open to looking at the rules if they face that situation again.

And while it was a rushed trip of highlights, he says he's keen to come back soon -- this time with his wife for a holiday.