Science & Environment

Can the vaccines save us?

A few short generations ago, New Zealand was beset by a virus that closed schools, churches, cinemas and campgrounds and put people in quarantine. Polio killed at least 835 New Zealanders and paralysed many more. Regular epidemics were only banished in the 1960s by a vaccine decades in the making. Now, as the world awaits the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, how have things changed? What has science learned about designing tools to help our immune systems fight back?



Mar - Apr 2021



Rangitoto Baches

Tree Hunters

Short - Songs of the Sea

A song for the Noises

Sue Neureuter grew up visiting the Noises Islands which have been in her family since the 1930s. Having witnessed the decline in marine life and seabirds in the Hauraki Gulf first-hand she recalls her parents' stories. “When Mum first got to the Noises which was the late fifties, Dad used to make her row out and he’d put his rugby jersey on and plop over the side and pick crayfish up and dump them around her feet.” This personal account is the first of a New Zealand Geographic-produced web-series—made in association with Live Ocean and Pew Charitable Trusts—that examines the former abundance of the Hauraki Gulf through the memories of those who can still remember these Songs of the Sea.


Places of rest

Amber Aranui searches the world for Māori and Moriori human remains to bring home as a researcher for Te Papa’s Karanga Aotearoa Repatriation Programme.



The tree hunters

Out there in forest reserves, down remote back roads and tucked away in corners of small towns hide giant tōtara, mataī and rimu. A tiny group of obsessive people, guided by old records and half-remembered stories, regularly hit the road in search of these monsters. Their aim: to bag a champion tree, one whose size, age and majesty will put it at the top of New Zealand’s notable tree register.


How to fix Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere

It’s one of New Zealand’s most important wetland habitats, and it’s also one of our most polluted lakes. Restoring it to its former abundance of birds and fish will take generations, but it’s possible.


In search of summer

More than a century ago, people were granted temporary leases to build baches on Rangitoto Island, and a thriving community grew around these rudimentary dwellings. But Rangitoto is public land. A debate over the legitimacy of private baches existing there began in the 1920s and continues today. Meanwhile, three of the historic baches have now been opened for public use, welcoming a new generation of people to the island.

Living World

The birds and the bees

Plant sex is the ultimate form of a long-distance relationship, with animals co-opted into carrying out the act. The result: much of life on Earth depends on the habits of hungry insects, bats, reptiles and birds. But we don’t know exactly who’s doing what to whom, and when—and what might happen if they disappear.


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