Living World

A Stitch in Time

At first glance they could be mistaken for bellbirds, but this chick and its mother are much rarer: they are stitchbirds, or hihi, an endemic species once widespread in North Island forests but now confined to just a handful of island sanctuaries. Strenuous conservation efforts over the past decade have secured a brighter future for this rare and fascinating bird.

Magazine

053

ISSUE 053

Sept - Oct 2001

Hillary's legacy

Crouching spider

Stitchbird

Riverhead

Alpine plants

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History

Burra-sahib: The legacy of Sir Edmund Hillary

On May 29, 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary became the first person to set foot on the summit of Everest, roof of the world. Achieving mountain­eering's long-cherished goal was his crowning moment as an adventurer, but also marked the beginning of lifelong humanitarian work with the Sherpas of north-eastern Nepal. The bonds forged between Hillary and these resilient mountain people, who toil in the watchful presence of an age-old Buddhist faith, are now being strength by others who feel a kinship with this region.

Geography

Heads in the clouds

How can the sensitive tissues of a plant withstand the brutal conditions of the mountains? Unlikely as it may seem, many fascinating plants, including the distinctive penwiper, Notothlaspi rosulatum, not only survive but flourish amid the shifting screes and windswept gullies far above the treeline. Alpine plants are among the special treasures the mountains offer those who venture among them.

Science & Environment

Crouching Spider, Hidden Beetle

A green crab spider lurks in a well defended hideaway among flowers of the stinging tree nettle, Urtica ferox, ready to seize not just the day, but whatever prey passes by. Crab spiders, modest in size and always well camouflaged, are wait-and-pounce hunters with good vision. Like many of our invertebrates and small plants, they are invisible to all but the sharpest-eyed of human observers—all the more reason to celebrate their existence.

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