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Dunedin’s electricity

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Dunedin’s Waipori hydroelectric plant discharges water from its Pelton wheel turbines in 1907. Most New Zealand hydroelectricity is generated using Francis turbines, which rely on water pressure, while Pelton turbines are driven by the water’s velocity, or speed. The Waipori ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Little owl

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Originally introduced from Germany, little owls are now established in the South Island. They are found mainly in flat pastoral country, especially on the east coast, while the native morepork is found more commonly on the west coast.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Mynah

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The aggressive mynah was introduced to New Zealand from Asia. Its colouring is very distinctive – it has a black head, yellow beak and patch around the eye, and a cinnamon-brown body.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Dunnock

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The dunnock is also called the hedge sparrow because its colour is similar to the female house sparrow. However, its fine bill shows that, unlike the sparrow, the dunnock mainly eats invertebrates and small insects – like beetles, flies and aphids – ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Skylark feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The trill of the skylark is a common sound in open areas of New Zealand, such as dunes or tussock grasslands. The female skylark builds the nest, but both parents feed the young. This adult skylark – at Birdlings Flat, Banks Peninsula – has a raised ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Rabbit hunters

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

When other work was not available rabbiting provided an income for rural workers in the South Island. These men are at a summer camp in 1909, although rabbiting often took place in winter when the skins were at their best. The conditions were hard – but ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Loading kiore bait

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This helicopter is loading poison bait to eradicate kiore from Little Barrier Island (Hauturu), in 2004. Because kiore eat native plants and animals, the Department of Conservation has worked to eradicate the rats from Crown-owned islands. Listen to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Goldfinch feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The goldfinch is spectacularly coloured, with patches of red, black, gold, brown and white. The female builds the nest and incubates the eggs. After hatching, the female stays in the nest with the chicks for the first week. The male feeds the female who, in...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Redpoll

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Redpolls have a distinctive red forehead, and in autumn and winter the males develop a pinkish-red breast. At that time of year redpolls often form flocks of up to several thousand birds.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Male and female blackbirds

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Although blackbirds are probably New Zealand’s most widespread bird, not many people know that only the male (top) is actually black. It also has a distinctive orange beak. The female blackbird (bottom) is brown with a variegated underside. She builds the...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Song thrush feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Song thrushes are common in all parts of New Zealand, except native bush. They lay their eggs in the spring and often raise up to three broods a season, but rarely in the same nest. The young nestlings are fed by both the male and female, and usually fledge...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Myxomatosis experiment

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Myxomatosis is caused by the myxoma virus, and was first identified killing rabbits in Uruguay in 1896. Trials of the disease began in Australia in 1938, and in 1950 it was released into the wild rabbit population with remarkable success. It was introduced ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Cirl bunting

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Cirl buntings are not often seen in New Zealand, but they can be quickly recognised by the yellow lines above and below each eye. Sound file from the Department of Conservation.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Shearing methods used on ewes in Canterbury, 1992

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

It is often believed that the advent of machine shearing meant the end of blade shearing, but, as this interview with Graham Jones shows, there are still many gangs of blade shearers. The table of shearing methods used in Canterbury indicates that over a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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South Island hill country

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

For tussock-covered South Island hill country to be suitable for stock grazing, it needed to be sown with improved pasture species. Plant breeding and selection from the introduced English varieties produced clovers that could establish rapidly and provide ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Preparing muttonbird containers

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Men prepare pōhā (containers made from bull kelp) to hold tītī (muttonbirds), in 1910. The pōhā were put into flax baskets and surrounded with tōtara bark. Listen to Ngāi Tahu elder Bob Whaitiri talk about using pōhā with tītī. Sound file from

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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Skellerup Woolston Brass Band

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The Skellerup Woolston Brass Band takes part in the street march at the 2001 New Zealand National Band Championship at Whanganui. The band won this event for the 18th consecutive time. Listen to the band play ‘Flourish for an occasion&rsquo...

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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Graduate Choir

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The Graduate Choir was established in 2001 from former students of Aorere College and comprises 35 singers. Most have recently graduated from apprenticeship choirs, and are beginning their singing careers. In this clip the choir is singing ‘Minoi Minoi...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage