The hardest assignment in wildlife photography: lesser short-tailed bats.
For one fossil-fuelled week every summer, anyone can be an Invercargill motorcycling legend.
Nightfall, and the forest comes alive with squeaking. Or it used to. Lesser short-tailed bats are clinging on in a handful of places, their populations blinking out of existence. Yet researchers are only just beginning to learn about our bat species—New Zealand’s only native mammals—and what they’re finding out is pretty weird.
Retreating glaciers and thinning snow and ice are the future of New Zealand’s mountains. Climate change is predicted to warm the country’s atmosphere by 1–4°C by the end of the century, altering the natural water cycle—how much is frozen as snow, how much falls as rain, and how much flows in rivers. Climate researchers are seeking to predict what will change, and when. What will be the impact on hydroelectric power stations and irrigation schemes? Which areas will be hit hardest by flooding, or increasingly severe drought? The Deep South National Science Challenge is taking a lead role in helping decision-makers plan for the coming century.
The ocean is our playground, storehouse, transport corridor, driver of weather and coastal change. We’ve learned the hard way that it’s possible for us to exhaust its resources and overwhelm its natural processes. Now, scientists are mapping the web of relationships between the sea, the land and human industry, to figure out how fishing, aquaculture, tourism, land development, and recreation affect its health. What should be permitted, and what prohibited—and where? How can we best strike a balance between using and protecting our seas?
As things stand, the land can’t endure our enterprise much longer. If it’s to sustain our grandchildren, we have to change the way we think and cultivate. The Our Land and Water National Science Challenge is helping us forge a new accord with the soil beneath our feet.
Preparing for a natural disaster has long been considered a matter of personal responsibility—but what happens to those without the finances to stockpile supplies or the physical ability to run up the nearest hill? Lessons learned during New Zealand’s most recent crises have shifted how towns and cities are building resilience. Researchers with the Resilience National Science Challenge and other agencies now believe that strong community connections will best help everyone ride out a worst-case scenario—but can we form those bonds in time for the next big one?
There isn’t a catch limit on the lucrative whitebait fishery, which threatens to extinguish a cherished tradition and a small family of fish in one sweep of the net. If nothing changes, two whitebait species will be gone within five years, and the rest by 2034.
Last year’s earthquake is now believed to be one of the most complex ever recorded.
The Kaikōura Earthquake was better documented and measured than any natural event in our history. As the data streams in, scientists are scrambling to decode its hidden meanings and answer some burning questions of Antipodean geology: How does seismic energy jump from one fault to another? Why were so many involved in this earthquake? And what can it teach us so we are better prepared for the next one?
Eclipsed by better known species in New Zealand’s pantheon of endangered birds, the quirky brown teal was until recently slipping quietly toward extinction. A handful of volunteers and a well-organised captive breeding programme ensured the species’ survival. Now, its future depends on a network of public‑private partnerships that reflect the new, multi-faceted face of conservation.
It is neither wealth nor splendour; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness. —Thomas Jefferson
The New Zealand fairy tern is our rarest breeding bird. Each season it must prevail over its predators, the summer rush of beach-goers, inclement weather and the incoming tide to hatch and fledge. Will conservation triage—a new approach to species management—benefit the bird or consign it to the fate of the 33 other New Zealand species that did not survive the last century?
In fading light, a fairy prion returns to its roost on Mana Island as a host of nocturnal creatures are just beginning their day. After concerted conservation efforts, the island is now a hive of activity after dark.
An often-straggly tree smothered with gold flowers each spring has long been a national favourite.
Thanks, you're good to go!
Thanks, you're good to go!
Ask your librarian to subscribe to this service next year. Alternatively, use a home network and buy a digital subscription—just $1/week...
Subscribe to our free newsletter for news and prizes