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Evacuation in Whakatāne

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

On 26 May 1960, three days after a tsunami from an earthquake in Chile caused damage along the New Zealand coast, a radio message warned that a tsunami from a major aftershock of that earthquake was about to hit the coast. These cars are jamming Hillcrest Road on the hillside above Whakatāne, ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Complaints about the food

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The quality of food provided for the crew often depended as much on the cleanliness of the vessel as the skill of the cook. Listen to Wally Caldwell describe the inadequate diet he endured on pre-war coal-burning vessels. Sound file from Radio New...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The romance of the sea

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, old salts such as this man, photographed at Wynyard Pier in Auckland around 1910, would have known the words to a few sea shanties. These work songs, sung to help lighten the hard physical labour on board, also reflected the values and experiences of ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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A Māori proverb

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Pineamine (Pine) Taiapa, pictured, was a master wood carver and an orator with extensive training in traditional knowledge. In this recording he explains to an audience of school children the background to the proverb, ‘Kia mate ururora, kei mate wheke...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Whaling at Te Kaha

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These whales have been caught at Te Kaha. In the sound clip, Matekino Wharemate recalls his time there. An elder taught him how to tell when the whale oil in the trypot was ready: by spitting into the oil. If the oil was not ready, the spittle would settle...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Puysegur Point lighthouse

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Puysegur Point, in the far south-west of unpopulated Fiordland, is remote even by lighthouse standards. Frequent gale-force winds, heavy rain and sandflies added to the challenges of lighthouse life at the point, as Kevin Pennel, the last keeper, recounts in this audio clip. Sound file ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Douglas Lilburn's childhood home

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

As a child, composer Douglas Lilburn lived at Drysdale, a sheep station in the upper Turakina valley – a place which he later described as a paradise, and which was to inspire his Drysdale Overture. Sound file from Radio New Zealand...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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TrinityRoots

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

An area of Māori innovation is music. Here are two clips from the album Home, land and sea by the band TrinityRoots, whose lead singer is Warren Maxwell of Ngāi Tūhoe (pictured). The other members are Rio Hemopo of Ngāti Tuwharetoa and Riki Gooch of Ngāti Māhanga. The songs ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Jonathan Lemalu

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Bass baritone Jonathan Fa‘afetai Lemalu is a New Zealander of Samoan descent. Since graduating from London’s Royal College of Music, where he won the gold medal in 2002, he has sung in recitals and opera in London and is fast gaining a world reputation. He is heard here performing ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Split Enz

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

One of New Zealand’s greatest pop bands, Split Enz first performed in December 1972 and became the first New Zealand group to achieve worldwide success. When lead vocalist Tim Finn left to start a solo career in 1984, the band broke up. However, it still enjoys iconic status. Listen to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The Waipāoa River

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to this extract from the waiata (song) ‘Ka haramai a Pāoa’. It describes an incident following the arrival of the Horouta canoe which explains the origin of the Waipāoa River (pictured). When the Horouta was damaged on a reef, it was hauled ashore and the ...

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 flicking out its long, sticky tongue. ...

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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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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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 kā...

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 feathers under their wings are ...

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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Kiwi concert party

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

During the Second World War, the word Kiwis was almost universally adopted to describe New Zealanders. Here a touring troupe of entertainers called the Kiwi Concert Party perform beneath the kiwi symbol of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at El Alamein in North Africa, in October 1942. Listen ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo)

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to the pīpīwharauroa. This migratory bird’s call was a welcome signal that spring had arrived. Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact disc. © Viking Sevenseas NZ (P O Box 152, Paraparaumu), 1980. All rights reserved.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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North and South Island robins

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand robins (toutouwai) have large heads with big dark eyes, a white dot above the bill and long slender legs. The male North Island robin (top) is grey with an off-white patch on the belly. The female is slightly paler, with an off-white patch on her breast. The male South Island robin (...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage