Living World

Lizards anonymous

Many of our skinks and geckos are so new to science that they don’t even have names. Much of what we do know about our lizards is thanks to an amateur herpetologist from Invercargill with no academic training.


Living World

Fallen from grace

The rarest bird in this country is the fairy tern, with perhaps 36 adults left in existence. It’s got everything going against it: weather, cats, its own DNA, and the fact that humans love the white-sand beaches where it raises its young. Only a small group of people, many of them volunteers, stand between it and oblivion. What will we lose if it vanishes altogether?


Gun country

Last century, firearms flooded into New Zealand with returning servicemen, and during peacetime guns became synonymous with an honest, healthy way of life in the hills. Now, there are thought to be 1.5 million firearms in New Zealand—one for every three people—used as conservation or farming tools, or simply for sport. To some, firearms symbolise self-sufficiency and responsibility. To others, they’ll never be more than instruments of death. But is this issue as clear-cut as it seems?


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