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Swearing-in of Sir Guy Powles

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Sir Guy Powles (left) was photographed at his swearing-in as ombudsman in 1962 with Leader of the Opposition Walter Nash, Minister of Justice Ralph Hanan and another guest. The presence of both National and Labour party politicians emphasised the bipartisan support for the office when it was ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Eva Rickard, Raglan land occupation, 1978

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Tainui land rights activist Eva Rickard indicates her ancestral land on the Raglan harbour to Minister of Lands Venn Young. The government had claimed it for a military airfield during the Second World War and it later became a public golf course. Rickard and other members of her iwi were ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Crayfish boom

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In 1964 the main fish caught in Chatham Islands waters was cod. However, in 1968, 5,900 tonnes of crayfish were sent out from the islands, mostly overseas. Cod fisher Howard Page talks of the scene when he came down to hunt for crayfish about a year after the boom started. Sound file from...

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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Memories of boarding school

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Sally Fodie, who grew up on a high-country farm in the McKenzie country, was sent to board at Waitaki Girls’ High School at Ōamaru in 1964. She found it an unhappy experience. Listen to her read a poem in which she contrasts the restrictions of school with the freedom of her upbringing.

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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Kookaburra

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This Australian kookaburra looks at home perching on another Australian import – a eucalyptus tree. Sound file from the Department of Conservation.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Waipāoa River

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Some traditions explain the origin of natural phenomena. Pāoa was said to have created three rivers by urinating, including the Waipāoa (literally the water of Pāoa). This song, ‘Ka haramai a Pāoa’ (the arrival of Pāoa), tells of this and his other exploits. Sound file ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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The Battle of the Birds

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These three birds are Auckland Island shags. Shags (kawau) feature in the story of the ‘Battle of the Birds’. The kawau had an argument with the fantail (tīwaiwaka) about whether seabirds or land birds had better food. The tīwaiwaka was so clever in his argument that the ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Earnslaw on Lake Wakatipu

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The Earnslaw is a steamer that was built in Dunedin in the early 1900s, and launched on Lake Wakatipu in 1912. For over 50 years the boat carried people and freight to and from remote communities around the lake, but since the 1970s it has been mainly used for scenic cruises. ...

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 the tree toppled. Listen ...

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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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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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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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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North Island kōkako

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The calls of the kōkako cannot be compared with those of any other bird. Haunting and evocative, they are gently paced, wistful tunes, sung in rich flute-like tones. Males and females sing duets. Within a given area, birds have their own dialect, which tends to drive away those from outside. ...

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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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