In May 1891, the government temporarily gazetted Resolution Island, in Dusky Sound, as the country’s first reserve for the preservation of native flora and fauna. Rugged and remote it certainly was, but there was some doubt as to whether it was far enough from the mainland to protect it from swimming predators. Was rival island Little Barrier a better choice? Only after persistent lobbying from Otago over the next two years did the government finally vote funds for a curator who would stock Resolution with birds and look after them. It was Richard Henry’s dream job.
Riding massive waves of air that form on the lee side of mountain ranges, modern glider pilots may venture higher into the sky than passengers aboard a jumbo jet. The home of South Island gliding, and host to the Perlan Project—an attempt led by American Steve Fossett to soar to 100,000 ft (30,500 m)—is the airfield at Omarama, North Otago. Marty Taylor, here performing a loop above the Benmore Range at a modest 2000 ft (610 m), headed there to reach for the blue yonder.
With their large brains, considerable capacity to learn, and propensity for interacting with humans, dolphins are undoubtedly among the most intelligent—and fascinating— of animals. Yet, given their nomadic lives in the ocean, they are difficult subjects to get to know. The bottlenose dolphins of Fiordland's Doubtful Sound, however, are a resident population, much studied by biologists from the University of Otago, who are starting to piece together the outlines of their mysterious lives.