History

Home on the Range

Empress Hut, perched on the western flank of Mt Cook, is one of more than 1000 huts peppered throughout the New Zealand back country. But how secure is this heritage in the face of difficult economic times?

Magazine

ISSUE 054

Nov - Dec 2001

Catholics

Fur seals

Roadside crosses

Swaggers

Tramping huts

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History

Our Lady of the Antipodes

The rainbow—a traditional Christian emblem of hope—arches over a Catholic shrine to Mary in a roadside cemetery at Charleston, on the West Coast. Last century, hope of a better life drew many Irish, among them a strong contingent of Catholics, to New Zealand, and the religion they brought has taken root and flourished here, becoming a pillar of New Zealand society. Catholics are the second most numerous Christian group in this country, and if present trends continue, before long they will be the major group. Despite their abundance, Catholics have often been at odds with the establishment, and religious icons have not been the only aspect of Catholic belief and practice to perplex outsiders.

Living World

Seals – On the Rebound

Despite being hunted to the edge of extinction in the 19th century, New Zealand fur seals seem to be making a modest recovery. Although the animals are still sparse around most of the North Island, several South Island rookeries are increasing in size, making some fishers nervous at the prospect of increasing competition from these efficient predators. Many, however, are entranced by the lithe, playful animals-and regard seals as a great asset to our coastal wildlife.

History

Keas – In the Land of the Kiwi

Gypsies, tramps and thieves—in some measure, New Zealand's swaggers were all of these things. They were opportunists in a society that idolised hard work and conformity. Their vagabondage earned them few friends and little respect, but—like our cheeky alpine parrot—they added a dash of colour to rural life.

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