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Tūī drinking nectar

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The tūī reaches the nectar in a flax flower with its curved beak, extending its brush-tipped tongue. Its fine feathers above the bill become coated with yellow pollen, and the tūī then transfers pollen from one flower to another. Sound file from Birds of New Zealand. Compact ...

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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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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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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Scenic charms

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand scenery has often been used to advertise the country to overseas tourists. This 1927 poster shows, from left, The Hermitage hotel at Aoraki/Mt Cook, a forest scene, and Mitre Peak in Milford Sound. European settlers were proud of the scenery in their adopted land, as shown in ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Giant kauri

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This large kauri tree is at Waiau Falls Scenic Reserve, Coromandel Peninsula. Trees like this are believed to symbolise Tāne, propping up the sky from the earth. Listen to Canon Pāora Temuera of Ngāti Raukawa and Te Arawa recite a karakia (prayer) that was formerly heard echoing around the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Genealogy of the universe

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to the first part of a whakapapa outlining the origins of the universe. It can be translated as: From the conception the increase, From the increase the thought, From the thought the remembrance, From the remembrance the ...

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 ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Blackberry patch

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to George Paul of Te Awamutu talk about the introduction of blackberries to the King Country. Blackberries were first noticed growing wild in New Zealand in 1899. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Cicada song

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to the song of the cicada or kihikihi, which conjures up images of hot summer days. The cicada and cricket were described as the song birds of the ‘summer’ star Rehua (Antares), because their song heralded the arrival of warmer weather. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Dinosaur finder

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Joan Wiffen stands in Mangahouanga Stream in the hills of Hawke’s Bay, where she found New Zealand’s first dinosaur fossils in 1975. Listen to her talk about her family's first visit there. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Sealing song

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In February 1810 a gang of 10 sealers were left here, at Open Bay Island, near Jackson Bay in Westland, by the brig Active. The ship was lost and the men were stranded on the island for almost four years, living on seal meat and fern root before they were rescued. This song tells of ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Collecting toheroa

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The large, sand-burrowing shellfish known as toheroa made such good eating (usually as a soup) that New Zealanders consumed them faster than the species could breed. From 1932 until 1993 the government imposed restrictions on harvesting, but these measures were not enough to halt the decline. ...

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
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Impact of the Murchison earthquake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most of the roads close to Murchison were impassable after the earthquake. The figure surrounded by fallen blocks gives an idea of how difficult travel was. Sound file: Len Hutchings and Mrs ? Nelson, interview by Jim Henderson for 'Open country no. 82,' 1964 (2'50

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Clearing the rubble

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Men search for bodies in Napier. They had nothing more than shovels to work with as no earth-moving equipment was immediately available. Kenneth Spiller, speaking in this sound clip, was part of a group who attempted to rescue a woman trapped in the rubble of a collapsed building after the main ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Uplift of the foreshore

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Gordon Amner was a young farmhand, cutting scrub at the time of the 1931 earthquake. He rode into Napier in time to witness the fires spreading and uplift of the Ahuriri Lagoon. When the inner harbour was uplifted, these horse mussels were left high and dry. Listen to Gordon Amner recalling the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Edgecumbe dairy factory

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Ron Russell was manager of the Edgecumbe dairy factory in 1987. He describes watching these huge milk storage silos being shaken down. Sound file: Ron Russell, interview by Judith Fyfe for the Bay of Plenty Earthquake Oral History Project, 1987 (12'07

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Effects in Martinborough, June 1942

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

There was widespread damage throughout the Wairarapa region from the earthquakes of 24 June and 2 August, especially in shops and larger buildings. In this sound clip Constance 'Dickie' Budd describes the effect of the June earthquake in Martinborough, a small country town. Mrs ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Volcanic avalanche mounds

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Most large cone volcanoes have a complex history of cone-building followed by collapse. The mounds in front of Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) are the remains of a huge landslide that occurred about 23,000 years ago when a large volcanic cone collapsed and spread ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage