New Zealanders boast one of the highest dog ownership rates in the world—one third of households own at least one dog and 300 kennel clubs across the country run hundreds of dog shows a year. The competition will always be fierce, but there can only be one Best in Show.
Where can the city dweller look for the inexhaustible wild? Perhaps it lies closer than we think, on the flipside of the ordinary, along the unkempt edges of the familiar. An urban green space can become a site of pilgrimage, a place to discover a waterfall by moonlight.
Most introduced mammals have had a devastating effect on native wildlife, but one species is bucking the trend. About 80 conservation dogs are deployed around the country, helping to protect vulnerable native species by leaping into action at a single command: Seek!
Slowly, almost imperceptibly, New Zealand society is changing before our eyes. Despite being the last land mass to be inhabited by humans, we are now one of the most ethnically diverse. And despite priding ourselves on our egalitarian society, the gap between rich and poor is growing faster in Aotearoa than in almost any other country in the OECD. Our cities are thriving, the regions are declining, and almost as nothing is as it seems.
In the wilds of Kahurangi National Park, a tramper disappears two days before Christmas, sparking a huge search and rescue effort. Several years later, Alistair Levy has still not been found.
A former editor recalls how he was smitten by deceptively simple creatures.
The South Island kōkako is widely believed to have died out a half century ago, but some committed bird experts are convinced there are signs a few remain: disturbed moss, glimpses of grey wings and orange wattles, an occasional haunting call. Yet despite decades scouring southern forests, the kōkako has remained elusive—a single feather is the closest the searchers may have come to proving the bird still exists.
A group of seabird scientists are painting fake poo all over rocky islands in the Hauraki Gulf, all in the hope they'll attract real shags to their fake colony.
This year, for the first time in the 150-year saga of Parihaka, the government is preparing to apologise for one of New Zealand history’s most deplorable acts: the invasion and sacking of a Māori pacifist community and the imprisonment without trial of its leaders, Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi. Yet for many New Zealanders, the word “Parihaka” still draws a blank. On hearing the story for the first time, they ask: why wasn't I told?
Last October, Chris and Jorinde Rapsey and their two children set off from Cape Reinga to walk Te Araroa, the 3000-kilometre track that runs the length of New Zealand. They lived outdoors for five months and walked an average of 20 kilometres a day. For nine-year-old Elizabeth and six-year-old Johnny, it was an immersive education—a form of learning increasingly absent from the lives of young New Zealanders, even as international research affirms the importance of children spending time in nature.
Josh James reinvents adventure and manhood on the West Coast, with the world watching.
Cryptic, calculating and coveted, orchids embody the artistry of evolution, and outwit intelligent orders of life at every turn.
The Rifleman set out from Hobart on April 14, 1833, and was never seen again. The fate of the ship, her 12 crew and six passengers, remained a total mystery for 179 years. Only now, after re-examining artefacts collected in 1996 from the foot of Auckland Island’s uncompromising westerly cliffs, have experts finally solved the riddle. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack—the definitive piece of evidence measured just 14 millimetres across.
Invasive koi carp now writhe through wetlands from Auckland to Marlborough, displacing native species and destroying freshwater habitats. For 25 years, bowhunters in Waikato have ministered their own brand of pest control, the World Koi Carp Classic, resulting in prizes, and 70 tonnes of puréed fish.
The idea of minimal living, an international fad, has fallen on fertile soil in New Zealand, thanks to our national housing crisis and shifting ideas about the way we want to live. For some people, a tiny house is the only home they will ever afford to own. Others are stepping off the treadmill of modern life to ask: How much space does a person really need?
Since 1915, when the first marlin was caught on rod and reel in New Zealand, the Bay of Islands has been a mecca for big-game anglers. American writer Zane Grey ecstatically described New Zealand as the "Angler's El Dorado" after fishing here in 1926, and Northland's east-coast waters remain a world-class marlin fishery.
BASE jumping is now well established in New Zealand, where the glacial terrain of Fiordland presents grand walls up to 1300 metres high—ideal staging posts for jumpers courting ecstasy and tragedy in one of the world’s deadliest sports.
Three years ago, our most active volcano warned us of its impulsive and devastating power. We didn’t listen.
Have you heard of the snipe-rail, the owlet-nightjar, the musk duck? How about the laughing owl, the wren that ran around the forest like a mouse, or the other giant predator of the skies, Eyles’s harrier?
Packs of kea are reliable entertainers in places such as Arthur’s Pass or Glacier Country, and new research is showing that kea are smarter and have more complex communication than previously thought. But large flocks in tourism hotspots conceal the fact that kea numbers are dramatically falling across the Southern Alps. Why is this? How can we reverse it? And what do we still have to learn about them?
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?
We were taught that in 1840 Maori willingly exchanged their sovereignty for the benefits of becoming British subjects. What if we were taught wrong?
The love lives of some of our rarest birds are... chaotic. And that's putting it nicely.
One hundred years ago, as Robert Falcon Scott and his team fatefully hauled their sledges towards the South Pole, an Australian and New Zealand expedition under the leadership of Douglas Mawson set sail for Antarctica to commence the most ambitious exploration of the icy continent yet undertaken. It was a journey from which two men would not return, and from which Mawson himself would barely escape with his life.
In a world first, the entire genome of every individual of the kākāpō species will be sequenced, giving researchers the ‘code’ to all living birds (and a few long-dead ones, too). This is vital information in the quest to solve the kākāpō’s biggest problems, granting the world’s weirdest parrot its best chance at long-term survival.
Gene editing is now being used in research around New Zealand, usually to ‘switch off’ genes one by one in order to figure out what they do. Overseas, this technology has started to emerge from the lab—it has the potential to help eradicate pests, save threatened species, even cure diseases—and soon, we’ll have to decide whether gene editing should be permitted more widely in New Zealand. What are the risks? What could we use it for? And how should we decide?
Rowi are the rarest of the rare—a species of kiwi so critically restricted in distribution and breeding success that they were almost done for. But a last-ditch effort—codenamed Operation Nest Egg—has dramatically changed the fortunes of the most imperilled kiwi in the world.
By night, a menagerie of species rises to the surface of the ocean—rarely glimpsed, and in some cases never photographed.
A rare and misunderstood octopus, the argonaut lives far out to sea, where females construct fragile shells to live in, marble-sized males woo them with severed arms, and much of their lifecycle has never been observed.
Barely seven per cent of New Zealand is land. The rest of it, the wet bit, covers four million square kilometres. In 2016, photographer Richard Robinson won a Canon Personal Project Grant that enabled a dozen expeditions into this vast marine prairie, arguably the country’s last great tract of undisturbed wilderness.