Arno Gasteiger

Great reads

Take a seat: these stories are immersive. From shooting fish with bows and arrows to poachers, sponges, show dogs and dinosaur birds: this is a selection of some of New Zealand Geographic‘s most popular longform journalism.

Living World

Best in show

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.

Geography

Pilgrim at Oakley Creek

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.

Society

Our new society

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.

Society

Without a trace

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.

Living World

In search of the Grey Ghost

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.

History

Why wasn’t I told?

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?

Geography

The longest walk

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.

Science & Environment

The war on koi

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.

Travel & Adventure

The fall of man

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.

History

To hell (and back)

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.

Living World

Rarest of the rare

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.

Living World

The legend of the argonaut

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.

Living World

Where the wild things are

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.