City of stone

Then as I looked at your buildings rising in stone of the utmost brilliance, of a kind I have never seen before, I thought, Oamaru is a fair maiden that sits by the sea. —Sir George Grey, Prime Minister, 1878



May - June 2005


Black-backed gulls







Operation Mercury: The Battle of Crete

Operation Mercury—the invasion of Crete by Nazi Germany—began on May 20, 1941, when gliders and paratroops swooped through the dust and smoke thrown up by Luftwaffe bombs and cannon. On the ground, a mixed British, Dominion and Greek army raised its guns to meet them. Mainstay of the Allied defence, where the conflict was most fierce and its outcome decided, was the 2nd New Zealand Division. Sixty years on, as crowds gathered in remembrance of the many who lost their lives in the savage clash, Mark Bathurst trod the battlefield and listened to those with tales to tell.

Living World

Black-backed gulls

Unprotected, harassed, maligned and even culled by its human neighbours, the handsome southern black-backed gull continues to loiter round the edges of settlements and farms, always on the lookout for an easy meal.

Travel & Adventure

The forgotten climb

In May 1955 New Zealanders Norman Hardie was one of four mountaineers to reach the summit of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga. His climb came just two years after another New Zealander, Edmund Hillary, had succeeded in climbing the world’s highest peak, Mt Everest, with Tenzing Norgay. Both ascents rate among the finest of the 20th century, yet—in contrast to Hillary’s celebrated perform­ance—Hardie’s role in his historic climb remains little known.


Matapouri Estuary

Behind Matapouri Bay, north-east of Whangarei, a small estuary flanked by mangroves runs quietly inland, ignored by the scores of visitors who crowd the clean sand of the main bay. Yet towards high tide (when it is easy to float about), there is much for the patient snorkeller to enjoy amid the mangroves.

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