Living World

Beautiful slugs

A black-tailed sea hare—just one of the more than 100 species of sea slug that glide through our waters—grazes on the seaweeds that make up its diet. Handsome they may be, but sea slugs have a lot more going for them than just good looks.

Magazine

ISSUE 071

Jan - Feb 2005

Gliders

Kiwifruit

Nudibranchs

Cassini

Whangarei Heads

Unknown Warrior

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Geography

Whangarei Heads

Since 1964 the Marsden Point oil refinery has dominated the southern headland of Whangarei Harbour, giving an industrial stamp to the area. Now, new residential and industrial developments compete for space in the vicinity of the refinery, while across the water the residents of Whangarei Heads watch as their own property values go through the roof. The two harbour heads—each with its distinct character—have become some of the hottest real estate in the north.

Updraft

Riding massive waves of air that form on the lee side of mountain ranges, modern glider pilots may venture higher into the sky than passengers aboard a jumbo jet. The home of South Island gliding, and host to the Perlan Project—an attempt led by American Steve Fossett to soar to 100,000 ft (30,500 m)—is the airfield at Omarama, North Otago. Marty Taylor, here performing a loop above the Benmore Range at a modest 2000 ft (610 m), headed there to reach for the blue yonder.

Geography

Kiwi jackpot

It is 100 years since the tiny seeds of a plant known as the monkey peach in its native China were first sown in New Zealand. After making only modest headway in its first half-century of cultivation under the name of Chinese gooseberry, the distinctive green fruit with the stubbly brown skin has since taken off around the world. Rechristened the kiwifruit, it is now the country’s main horticultural export and looks set to become a family of fruits—some of its members very richly coloured, if these slices from experimental crossbred fruit are anything to go by.

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