Living World

Last chance to see

Twice the kākāriki karaka has returned from the dead. Orange-fronted parakeets were declared extinct in 1919 and again in 1965, but each time, the birds were concealed deep in the beech-forested valleys of Nelson and Canterbury. Now, the bird is approaching its third extinction, and this time, rangers have already scoured the valleys for hidden strongholds. This time, there isn’t a secret population waiting in the wings.

Magazine

ISSUE 147

Sep - Oct 2017

Parakeets

Ihumātao

Wasps

Acid seas

Nino Bixio

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Society

When worlds collide

Ihumātao, a west-facing peninsula on the shore of Auckland’s Manukau Harbour, is the city’s oldest settlement. In 1863, the land was illegally confiscated from Māori. Sacred hills were quarried, 800-year-old burial sites were demolished, archaeological remains were destroyed, a sewage-treatment plant was built over traditional fishing grounds, and a dye spill killed the local creek. Now Ihumātao has been designated a Special Housing Area, without public consultation, and a development of nearly 500 houses is in progress. But for some tangata whenua, enough is enough.

Profile

Star struck

Aerospace engineer Mana Vautier helps ensure the International Space Station runs smoothly. One day, he hopes to step aboard.

Archive

Life

Time crystals

For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, right? Not in the maverick world of this new form of matter.

Living World

The coming swarm

Every summer, a plague of wasps gathers, ruining picnics, harassing trampers and disrupting ecosystems. Wasps outcompete bees for food, costing New Zealand about $130 million each year in loss of honey and pasture crops. Where wasps abound, biodiversity suffers: butterflies disappear, songbirds stop breeding and invertebrate communities are looted. But there’s hope on the horizon. Scientists are developing weapons, both biological and genetic, in a bid to cure the pestilence, once and for all.

History

The fate of the Nino Bixio

On August 17, 1942, an Italian prisoner-of-war ship carrying Allied soldiers was torpedoed off the coast of Greece. Crammed into the forward hold were 174 New Zealand servicemen. One of them was Ben Stanley’s great-uncle.

Science & Environment

Acid seas

The chemistry of seawater is changing, becoming more acidic, and this transformation is most profound along our coastlines. In this delicate borderland between land and sea, some places are experiencing a surge in acidity, peaking at levels that the open ocean isn’t predicted to reach until the end of this century. What does this mean for marine life?

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