Science & Environment

Natural values

For 200 years the Hauraki Plains and Firth of Thames have been bent to the commercial interests of man. We have extracted timber, gold, peat, fish and shellfish, then tipped in millions of tonnes of sediment as our thanks. We have drained the marsh and farmed it, then intensively farmed it, returning the run-off of agriculture. Today, the region is a case study for the carrying capacity of land and sea. How resilient are our natural systems, and how much development is too much?



May - Jun 2015

Hauraki Plains

Paleo whales

In Barrington's steps

Minerva Reefs



Science & Environment

Valley of the whales

The North Otago limestone country holds one of the world’s most important fossil cetacean records, a coherent story of how whales and dolphins evolved in the Southern Ocean. It’s a story that one small rural community has embraced as its own.

Living World

Empire of the sea

The distant and remote Minerva Reefs—the closest coral atolls to New Zealand—have been the subject of political intrigue, a failed libertarian state and a naval showdown. Scientists believe they may also be the origin of some tropical species reaching New Zealand’s northern waters.


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