Geography

Hoiho—still on the brink

The fury of southern South Island seas is a daily hazard for the hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin—a plucky bird which has become a New Zealand conservation icon. Although, like humans, the birds often seem hesitant to take the plunge, their food lies far out to sea and it takes extreme conditions to keep them ashore—and hungry—for the day. Despite valiant efforts to stabilise the dwindling numbers of birds over the past 15 years, hoiho remain at risk around southern coasts.

Archive

Geography

Taranaki—the shadow speaks

For years the mountain was no ore to me than a waypoint on the flight to Auckland, and an invisible one at that. The view was always obscured by cloud, or it was night. The nearest I came to seeing it was late one afternoon. We flew right over the top. I cursed the flight path. Straining, I could not quite see. The mountain lay directly below the aircraft. But I saw its shadow, a triangle stretching across farmland.

Science & Environment

Maurice Wilkins

Most New Zealanders know that Nelson-born Ernest Rutherford won a Nobel Prize for splitting the atom. Less well known is the fact that a man born in rural Wairarapa shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for an equally pivotal scientific breakthrough: the discovery of the structure of DNA. In 2003, the 50th anniversary of that discovery was celebrated—with Maurice Wilkins taking a share of the limelight.

History

The architecture of tragedy

In 1931, during the world's worst economic depression, New Zealand's largest earthquake of the 20th century shook the centre of Napier to rubble. Fires then burned much of what remained. Out of the ashes, Napier's citizens built what they hailed as “the newest city on the globe,” modelled on the latest architectural fashions: Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and, most notably, Art Deco. Largely unappreciated in the 1970s and early 1980s, Napier's Art Deco heritage has enjoyed huge popularity in recent years.

Geography

What lies beneath

A helicopter flies over the Kakapo Lake area of the Cameron Mountains as it heads towards the drop-off point for geologist Ian Turnbull. He will spend a week recording and sampling the rocks inland from Fiordland’s West Cape as part of a project to produce new geological maps of the whole country

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