Death was once a constant presence. People passed away at home, and their bodies remained there until burial. Art was full of reminders of our own mortality, while churchgoers confronted the afterlife every Sunday morning. Today, death has been abstracted—it takes place in hospitals, the deceased are swiftly removed to funeral homes, and we no longer decorate our homes with reminders that, one day, our time will be up. What have we lost?
What became of the ship that charted New Zealand and Australia in the 1770s? For Great Britain, Endeavour expanded the map of the world; for Aotearoa, it brought abrupt and devastating change. Now, one of the world’s great maritime mysteries is on the cusp of being solved. The Endeavour’s bones lie in American waters, awaiting final identification. Meanwhile, the only organisation permitted to investigate the ship—a volunteer marine archaeological group—is lacking funds for the next stage of work and rejecting offers of collaboration. What does the future hold for the Endeavour wreck?
Since humans arrived in New Zealand, we’ve lost nearly half of our native terrestrial bird species. Some of those extinct icons are well known, while others are recalled only by myth and bones. We will probably never know the full polyphony of that primordial dawn chorus, but old bones and new science are giving us a richer picture of life in the land of birds, back when they still ruled the roost. For the first time, we’re able to answer questions about what they ate, where they came from, how they were related to each other, and how they got so much bigger, heavier, and weirder than their ancestors.
There is a quiet revolution taking place in rural New Zealand. Over the past decade, migrant labour has become essential to the country’s dairy farms, vineyards and kiwifruit orchards, and as a result, the culture of regional communities is changing. A bustling Sikh temple has opened in Te Puke, songs from Vanuatu warm chilly nights in Central Otago, and in Southland, around 1500 Filipinos are employed on the region’s 900 dairy farms. Yet many new-migrant families lead insecure lives, at the whim of immigration law, their future in this country uncertain.