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'Split Enz with a bang' tour, 1984

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Until recently, the New Zealand music-buying public would not buy Kiwi music until it had proved popular with overseas audiences. New Zealand’s small population means that many bands still take the flight overseas, chasing dreams of rock stardom. Like...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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A woollen-mill worker’s story

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Scottish mill workers played an important role in developing New Zealand’s wool industry over many years. Marie Jarvis, from Hawick, had experience in the mills of her hometown when she decided to move with her family to Otago, to work in a mill founded in the 19th century by two Scots, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The SS Earnslaw

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The SS Earnslaw, built in Dunedin in the early 1900s, first plied Lake Wakatipu in 1912. For 50 years it carried freight and people to and from remote lakeside settlements. Since the 1970s the ship has been used for scenic cruises. British composer Ron Goodwin wrote the ‘Earnslaw Steam ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kauri felling

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Bushman Billy Mack takes a break while felling a giant kauri at Kauaeranga valley, Thames, in 1921. First, wedge-shaped ‘scarfs’ were cut into the trunk on the side the bushmen wanted the tree to fall. Then the trunk was sawn from the other side until ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Poisonous garden plants

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most plant poisonings in New Zealand occur when young children eat parts of poisonous plants growing in their local environment, such as the garden or the grounds of their kindergarten or school. Many commonly grown plants like kōwhai, rhododendron, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Whistling frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A native of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, the brown whistling frog is the smallest of the three introduced frogs. Eggs are laid under water and hatch into free-swimming tadpoles, unlike the native species. Its call is a familiar sound on the South ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Green and golden bell frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The green and golden bell frog was introduced to Auckland from Sydney in the 1860s. The brownish eardrum shows clearly, just behind the eye. The female grows to 9 centimetres, and the smaller male to 6 centimetres. It lays thousands of eggs on water, and ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Southern bell frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The southern bell frog is mainly green, with bronze markings and a warty back, and is native to south-eastern Australia and Tasmania. The most aquatic of the three introduced species, it has webbing on its hind toes. It catches insects near water by ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Juvenile tuatara

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington keep tuatara in enclosures, in semi-natural conditions, for up to five years after they hatch. Safe from predators, these juveniles have a higher survival rate than hatchlings in the wild. They will eventually return to their home island, or will ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Wing-clapping cicada

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The largest cicadas in New Zealand, Amphipsalta, are descended from Australian ancestors. Males produce loud sounds by contracting and relaxing a pair of membranes on their abdomen. These cicadas also sing by clapping their wings against the ground or a branch. Listen to the song of one ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Small alpine cicada

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Adult cicadas have a broad head and a tapered body with two pairs of wings. This specimen of a small alpine cicada, now named Kikihia subalpina, was collected in 1893 in Karori, Wellington, by entomologist George Hudson. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Chorus cicada

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The largest New Zealand cicada is the chorus cicada (Amphipsalta zelandica). The length of its body with the wings folded is about 40 millimetres. Chorus cicadas gather in large numbers around the time they emerge from their nymph skins, from January. Common in the North Island and some ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Maoricicada mangu

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most of the dark-coloured Maoricicada species live in alpine habitats or other bare, rocky sites. This one, Maoricicada mangu, is distributed east of the main divide from the Kaikōura mountains to Tekapo and the Mackenzie Pass area. Nowhere else in the world do cicadas live in ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Studying cicadas.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Entomologist Charles Fleming searches for small black cicadas of the Maoricicada genus in Otago’s Old Man Range. During the 1960s and 1970s he, his wife Peg, and entomologist John Dugdale carried out extensive surveys of cicadas. Fleming noted that the distribution of cicada ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Sand dune cicada and redtailed cicada songs

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Charles Fleming studied the songs of different cicadas. He found he could use differences in the songs to distinguish species, and similarities to group together related species. Listen to him play the call of the sand dune cicada (Rhodopsalta leptomera, top) and its relative the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Pepe tuna (pūriri moth)

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This is a male pepe-tuna (pūriri moth, Aenetus virescens). Listen to Hirini Melbourne sing about the ghostly night-time appearance of this giant green moth (its wingspan reaches 15 centimetres). Pepe-tuna nunui Kēhua kākāriki Wairua ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Brown kiwi

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Brown kiwi are found in some North Island forests. While the feathers of flying birds are flattened and smoothed for aerodynamic effect, kiwi feathers are hair-like and fluffed up for better insulation. Kiwi have tiny wings, and get about on muscular legs that have strong, heavy bones. Their long...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kākāpō

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand’s most unusual parrot is the nocturnal, flightless, vegetarian kākāpō. It is the heaviest parrot in the world. Males weigh 2 kilograms on average, but can reach 4 kilos. The females average 1.5 kilos. This male is feeding on the berries of a low-growing poroporo bush. But kākāp...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kōkako pair

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Kōkako belong to the Callaeatidae family, which has no close relatives. This family also includes the saddleback and huia. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kea plumage

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Seen from above, kea are well camouflaged – they have green-brown plumage with just a red rump patch above the tail. The drab colours are no doubt to avoid the attention of birds of prey, in particular the now-extinct giant Haast’s eagle. However, the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage