Jul - Aug 2013

Three Kings Islands

Lipton cup

East Otago

NZ Post




Treasure Islands

The Biblical tale of three magi with gifts has an ecological equivalent at the Three Kings Islands, 53 kilometres north of the New Zealand mainland. There, swept by the cool waters of the Tasman Sea, life springs in profusion. This year, five agencies voyaged to the islands to explore this unfathomable biological wealth.


Hills of promise

From Moeraki to Karitane, and inland to the edge of the Maniototo, East Otago is a seldom-traversed province where the rich legacy of whaling and gold persists. Today, mining and agriculture shape the fortunes of this land of rolling hills and rose-gold beaches.


The cup

While carbon-fibre catamarans hydrofoil around America’s Cup courses, the roots of New Zealand yachting were formed around another prize. The Lipton Cup—donated by Sir Thomas Lipton, who made no fewer than five challenges for the Auld Mug—actually stands two inches taller than the America’s Cup, and this year at least, attracted more entries. It has been the prestige annual event of the Ponsonby Cruising Club for nearly a century, held under the shadow of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. In a good year, 10 ‘mullet boats’—22-foot ballasted centreboard yachts directly descended from 19th-century fishing boats—face the starter. Even if the shores are no longer lined with spectators as they were in the 1920s, the event remains a major sporting occasion, right at the core of the city’s culture.

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