Expensive fish? The cost of marine protection in New Zealand

Nugget Point Marine Reserve Many would agree that marine reserves are a beneficial tool for the protection of precious marine ecosystems in New Zealand. Rigorous scientific studies of the impacts of marine reserve establishment, and the benefits to biodiversity, are now well documented in New Zealand and internationally. There is…

Indigenous knowledge: Māori responses to biosecurity threats

What is science? This is a big question that most people, including scientists, may never consider. Science is a huge part of our day to day lives and, today, is considered the most reliable and accurate system for learning about our world. But does this mean that it is the…

How to stop, the elephant in your crop

Elephants have long fascinated me. I think it goes back to tv series from the early/mid 1970s called ‘Elephant Boy‘. This was a Australian/ English/ German production that was filmed in Sri Lanka and loosely based on the book ‘Toomai, the elephant boy‘ by Rudyard Kipling. I don’t remember a…

Community adaptation planning: working with locals to achieve resilience

“Are you ready for climate change?” This was a question asked by a classmate in a planning class when I was a first-year university student. This was an awkward question to respond to.  The challenge for a first year student should be with assignment deadlines and not climate issues. Doesn’t…

Kaikōura: whale-watching (or wailing at watchers?)

As a picturesque little town nested between mountain ranges and the Pacific Ocean on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Kaikōura is known for its marine life encounters. Due to the specific offshore topography including deep dropping continental shelves and a U-shaped canyon, two oceanic currents meet and…

Let’s all become Ecologists

Climate change, deforestation and human development. We are living in a rapidly changing world and nature is responding to those changes. It is a crucial part of ecology, and science in general, to understand natural responses, in order to protect and conserve nature. Understanding usually involves several well-trained scientists spending…

The elephant in the room

Many things affect our lives. Only some of these things get the notice that they deserve. We tend to fixate on the big, flashy events, while other linked events, just as important, are overlooked. One big and flashy event in my life was the Canterbury Quakes. The 7.1 quake of September…

Helping Moths and Butterflies

Moths and butterflies belong to insect order Lepidoptera, which means scaly wing in Greek. This order contains more than 350,000 known species worldwide. They are grouped into about 39 superfamilies depending on forms, behaviours and environment. Only 16 superfamilies are found in New Zealand. 35 out 120 families occur naturally…

Keeping Happy Feet: The keys to breeding success of the white-flippered penguins

Over the hill and not too far away you can find the charming seaside town of Akaroa. With its rich Maori, French and British colonial history, stunning views and relaxed atmosphere this is a popular location for locals and tourists alike. For the more relaxed visitor, there are numerous restaurants…

The leopard, the which? and the wardrobe

There are very few lions in New Zealand. Or leopards. Or tigers. In fact, the only big cats that we have are, well, big cats. Once, when I was about 10, three circus lions escaped in the small town of Lawrence, not far from where I grew up. Or you…