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Home-grown wind and solar power

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Photographed in 1984, Frank Cresswell of Petone was heading for energy self-sufficiency, using a variety of methods to harness Mother Nature’s energy in his back yard. His solar panels heated water to 80°C in summer and 50°C in winter, and the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Red-crowned parakeet

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The red-crowned parakeet is almost extinct on the North and South islands, but remains abundant on stoat-free Stewart Island and the Auckland Islands, as well as a number of small islands without rats or stoats. It nests in tree hollows or ground burrows. There are another two subspecies – ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Male and female paradise shelduck

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A paradise shelduck pair usually stays close together, each bird calling in turn as they move about. The male’s call is deeper than the female’s. The female has a white head, whereas the male’s head is glossy green-black. Like other shelducks they have a long goose-like neck.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Living in a bush camp

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Living conditions in a typical bush camp were crowded. Often a gang of men slept and ate in one large hut. Around the edge were two tiers of bunks, while a large table dominated the centre of the room. As well as being used for meals, it was a place to play cards, read, write letters and talk.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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First to climb Aoraki/Mt Cook

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Jack Clarke (left), George Graham (centre) and Tom Fyfe (right) pose at the Hermitage the day after their successful climb of Aoraki/Mt Cook on Christmas Day 1894. In the radio recording Tony Nolan tells the story of the last stages of the climb. Sound file: ‘Open Country programme ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Joseph Banks’s journal

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Botanist Joseph Banks travelled with Captain James Cook on his first expedition to New Zealand in 1769–70. This journal entry describes the dawn chorus he heard on 17 January 1770, while the Endeavour was anchored in Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough Sounds: ‘This morn I was ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kārearea call

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The call of the kārearea (New Zealand falcon) was said to foretell the weather. If the bird screamed on a fine day, there would be rain the day after – if it screamed in wet weather, the next day would be clear. Listen to a kārearea’s cry. Sound file from

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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Riroriro (grey warbler) and nest

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The position of the riroriro’s nest was said to indicate the prevailing wind – the bird always placed the entrance away from the wind. Listen to the riroriro’s call. Like the pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo), the riroriro’s call signalled the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Tōrea call

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

When the tōrea (pied oystercatcher) calls ‘keria’ (dig) it is seen as the sign of an approaching storm – implying that people should dig for shellfish before bad weather arrives. When the tōrea cries ‘tōkia’, the storm is over. Listen to the tōrea calling. Is a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Whitehead

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Whiteheads (pōpokotea) move through the forest in flocks, searching under the canopy for insects. They stay in contact with a continuous tuneful chatter. Whiteheads are found in the North Island and nearby islands. Sound file from Radio New ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Yellowhead

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Yellowheads (mōhua) live in the South Island and Stewart Island, where their musical call was once heard in most forested regions – especially mature beech forest. They nest in tree holes, which makes them vulnerable to predators, and they are now limited to a few mountain forest regions ...

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
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Brown creeper with chick

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Brown creepers (pīpipi) move about in groups in the forest and scrub, calling to each other constantly as they hunt for food. Like yellowheads and whiteheads, they have sweet, melodious calls. Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact disc. © Viking Sevenseas NZ, 1980 (PO ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Grey warbler

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Grey warblers (riroriro) use cobwebs, lichen, twigs and leaves to build enclosed nests with a side entrance. As well as native forests, they have adapted to living in pine forests and well-planted urban gardens. Their trilling call is a familiar sign of spring. Sound file from Birds of...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kingfisher in flight

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The speed of a kingfisher or kōtare when diving on moving prey is legendary. This one is returning to its perch after catching food. They call from high lookouts with a distinctive ‘kek-kek-kek’ that carries afar. Close to the nest they make an unusual whirring call. Sound ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Shining cuckoo

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Shining cuckoos (pīpīwharauroa) return to New Zealand each spring after spending winter in the tropics. Like other cuckoos around the world, they lay their egg in the nest of another species and let the foster parents raise their chick. Despite this apparently easy existence their numbers ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Brakemen

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In 1904, this tramway at Maropiu, Northland, had such a steep grade it required a brakeman riding on each bogie (small cart). They both wound hand cranks that pressed board brakes onto the faces of each wheel. It was very dangerous work. On a nearby tram in that same year, a brakeman was crushed ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Mervyn Thompson performs Coaltown blues

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Mervyn Thompson was born at Kaitangata in 1936 and spent most of his early years on the West Coast. He worked for five years as a miner, and later he became a distinguished actor, playwright and director. In the play Coaltown blues, he relived the poverty and struggles of his boyhood. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Coromandel Harbour, 1852

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

When gold was discovered on the Coromandel Peninsula in 1852, Europeans met with Māori to discuss mining and prospecting their lands. In this 1940s interview John Edgar (born in 1874) talks about Māori attitudes towards mining. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage