Living World

Meet the spoonbills

They arrived here from Australia without fanfare, flying across the ditch for no reason anyone has been able to deduce. But they liked the look of the place, decided to stay, and started a family. Now, they’re one of New Zealand’s most successful bird species.



Force of nature

Off the east coast of the North Island, one tectonic plate slipping could lead to the same kind of quake that caused devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011 and Southeast Asia in 2004. Thanks to a suite of seafloor instruments and new underwater observatories, scientists are discovering more about this plate boundary and how it behaves.

Science & Environment

The known unknowns

The recent outbreak of the Delta variant led to a number of unintended consequences. Growers dumped thousands of flowers they weren’t allowed to sell. Auckland factories producing construction materials were shuttered for five weeks. Deaths from influenza are at an all-time low. Now, New Zealand needs to decide how to manage COVID-19, based on incomplete information about its risks. Some of the most crucial metrics are ones we don’t have—such as how many people develop long-term illnesses. This is what we wish we knew.


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