Science & Environment

New Zealand’s Next Top Model

A small group of Kiwi scientists is attempting to construct the ultimate crystal ball—a mathematical model of the Earth’s natural systems so intricate that it can predict the behaviour of our atmosphere, land and seas, human industry and biological production, far into the future. Behold, the New Zealand Earth System Model—the most nuanced and complex description of our region’s functions ever devised.

Magazine

ISSUE 144

Mar - Apr 2017

Josh James

Hutton's shearwaters

Earth System Model

Carmelite nuns

Megafauna

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Society

Silent Sisters

Carmelite nuns live in seclusion, rarely venturing from their cloister. Instead, they devote themselves to prayer and contemplation. Eighty years after it was established, a glimpse inside an Auckland monastery reveals simplicity and contentment born of another time.

History

Monsters of Yore

Across the world, ecosystems have been transformed by the mass extinctions that followed the arrival of humans. In New Zealand, the moa, the world’s largest eagle, sea lions, elephant seals and whales were wiped from the register at lightning speed. How did our megafauna become reduced to lawn ornaments?

Living World

Snow birds

No one knew that Kaikōura was home to the world’s only alpine-dwelling seabird until an amateur ornithologist following a rumour discovered its burrows high in the mountains. As the bizarre attributes and tenuous existence of the Hutton’s shearwater slowly came to light, Kaikōura took up the mantle of protecting its local bird—just in time to witness the destruction of its breeding grounds in the November 2016 earthquake.

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