Today’s photos come from the Taheke Scenic Reserve near Whangarei. The reserve is home to a grove of regenerating kauri, an impressive waterfall and the beautiful Taheke River.Continue Reading...
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It’s National Poetry Day — so there has never been a better time to open our blog to the bards!
Working in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and scenic places inspires the creative minds of many who work for the Department of Conservation. It’s not surprising then, that we have our fair share of poets.
Piet Nieuwland works in our management planning team in Hamilton, he also writes poetry. To celebrate National Poetry Day he shares with us:
Kauri Mountain, Kiwi Coast, Ngāti Korora
By Piet Nieuwland
Down cliff track
It’s a dive straight in
To kelp laden surf
Thick with froth and foam
Where the polygamous languages
Of our genes, speak
Through the warm mouths
Of hot summer skies
White butterflies and monarchs
Jive and jizz and jazz to black cicada beats
Centuries of kuaka, eye to eye, kanohi te kanohi
Lift off in cloud bound north
The crayfish orange hulk of a ship
Crawls into the horizontal zone
The air filling with a sweet
Of creamy flesh
The tooth of a yacht sail
Cuts the wind
Slowly peeling open
Curves of software ecosystems
And from a 4G Apteryx smartphone
A call comes in
We’d love to read your nature inspired poems here on the blog today too. Why not share your work with us in the comments?
New Zealand’s largest living kauri tree—Tāne Mahuta, Lord of the Forest—is this week’s photo of the week.
With such a majestic name, Tāne Mahuta is an apt choice for Māori Language Week, with its focus on ‘Ngā ingoa Māori, Māori names’.
Tāne Mahuta stands in Waipoua Forest in Northland and is thought to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years old.
According to Maori mythology Tāne was the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatūānuku the earth mother. Tāne was the child that separated his parents’ embrace, bringing light to the earth, and clothing his mother in the forest we have today. All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tāne’s children.
The tree is a remnant of the ancient subtropical rainforest that once grew on the North Auckland Peninsula.
This photo was taken by C S Jones.
Visit Waipoua Forest
The forests of Waipoua are the garden of Tane Mahuta. Waipoua, and the adjoining forests of Mataraua and Waima, make up the largest remaining tract of native forest in Northland. Good walking tracks give easy access to the most spectacular attractions of the forest: the giant trees Tane Mahuta, Te Matua Ngahere and Yakas. Tramping tracks and routes are also available for those who wish to venture deeper into the forest, especially in the high plateau and ranges.
Send us your photos
If you have a great, conservation related photo you want to share with the world (or at least the readers of this blog) send it through to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well, it seems a lot of them are anyway. A week after DOC put this very scientific native species determination chart up, nearly 3,000 people have completed it and the comments show most people are kea!
Have you found out what New Zealand native species you are? If so, tell us here!
Your thoughts so far…
“Kea all the way… WHOOP!” says Ian Martin about his result. Eighteen others agreed with him.
Being a kakapo, it seems right that (of the choices given) Sirocco’s closest match was the kea too. Although, his friend Oliver Christensen commented that he’d always fancied him as a rare shag! Touché Oliver.
The morepork/ruru was a popular outcome as well, and being quite spiritual, the night owls’ comments showed that they definitely felt a significant connection with their results.
Leanne Denz says, “Oooh! Apparently I am a Morepork – have always felt a fondness for those birds and it always feels like home when I hear them!”
And Lisa Miller says, “I’m a morepork… Got it twice (I started in wrong place first time!) so I guess it must be true… Always have been a bit of a night owl…”
Pamela Glading was happy with her result, “I’m a Ruru too and very flattered and happy about that! I think they are wise and wonderful, and I love to hear them call out to their friends.”
While Pichi Pie even learnt something from the experience! “I’m a morepork =D! I didn’t know this animal before. It’s cute =D.”
And @greengecko29 says “I am a Southern right whale… not sure what I think about that. Beyond a fear of sharp harpoony things.” Poor southerns!
But where are the mighty kauri trees? Not a single person has commented on their likeness to the proud and reliable characters. These people have a good head on their shoulders, and stay true to their roots!
It could be that they are too busy looking after all the people in their homes, or using their strength and height… lifting heavy things to high places? Or perhaps they’re just extra rare.
Anyway, DOC wants to record people’s results to get some official quantitative scientific data to go with the qualitative research your comments have provided us with! If you used the chart last week, enter your result below. Otherwise, find out what New Zealand native species you are and then come back to tell us. Thanks!
Here’s a bit of fun for Conservation Week. Use the chart to find out what native species you most closely match. Click on the picture to make it bigger (or download it as a PDF, 360K).
So, you’re a…
You’re one of the world’s mightiest characters. You’re tall and strong and are respected by many. But with great power comes great responsibility, and you find that often you’re reassuring people that ‘My home is your home’ as you make room for another to settle in and take shelter. Because of your strength (if not physically then definitely your inner) you can persevere through tough times, and it is for this reason that people recognise your qualities and feel like they should protect you. With strong links to New Zealand culture, you take pride in your heritage and know a lot about what went on long before those around you arrived!
Sometimes it’s as if you’re from another time, holding a wise and quiet knowledge of the past’s secrets. You’re easily affected by weather and temperature extremes—when it’s warmer you’re more inclined to potter in the garage, discuss our chances in the World Cup, and can find it hard to listen properly to those around you. When it’s cold, you feel the need to call up friends and discuss small details in depth, go shopping or curl up on the couch and watch some trashy TV. Like Beyonce, you’re a survivor and you don’t let predatory people or tough times bring you down.
You’re a quiet sort, although you’re not afraid to speak up or call out when you’re in your element—which is any time after six in the evening. Definitely not a morning person, you focus best once the day winds down and the stars come out. With an unexplained connection to Maori traditions, you’ve almost got psychic traits. Often your musings on what could happen end up being right, and sometimes you could have eyes in the back of your head for all people under your watch know. But you are just looking out for them, somewhat of a guardian really.
Always sticking your nose into other people’s business, you can’t help wanting to know what’s going on around you. You’re just so intelligent that boredom comes easily and as soon as anything new or out of the ordinary comes along, you’re there. You can talk your way into or out of any situation and have no trouble twisting people around your little finger. A burning need to pull apart and know how new gizmos work means accidental breakages are an accepted part of your life. But with the gift of the gab, you manage to charm everyone and you’re known for your cheek and mischievous ways.
You work best on your own and enjoy spending time in your own company. In no rush, you move through life at your own pace—you know you’ll get there in the end. You tend to feel a bit panicky when you’re in unknown territory, so you like to know that home’s comforts are there at all times, and not straying too far from these brings you a firm sense of security. You spent a lot of time with your mother growing up, and as such you are (or will be) close with your own offspring. Despite not being overly social, your presence is inspiring and many find you quite breathtaking. For this reason you always seem to end up in front of the camera as people quickly try to snap a pose.
What am I?
I came out as a kea, which is quite accurate for me (as far as accuracy goes when comparing oneself to trees, reptiles, birds and whales!) Just like kea I am fun loving, adore gadgets, and have a ‘beak’ that works quite hard for me. I am told that kea can cause conflict and be annoying though, and I’d rather pretend I don’t share those traits!
If I could be any native species I think I’d be a fantail/pīwakawaka. Even though they’re fairly common I always feel a thrill when I see one—and who would choose to belong to an endangered species anyway? Fantails are adaptable, energetic and cute. And, of course, no one gets annoyed with fantails.
Anyway, make sure you leave a reply letting me know what you came out as, and whether you think it’s right.
I’m particularly interested to see if other native species represent as strongly in our replies as kea. I have a suspicion that kea are more likely to take the time to do this kind of quiz (and then post a response). What do you think? Can you kauri, tuatara, morepork/ruru and southern right whale personalities prove me wrong?