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Changing vowels

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour at the University of Canterbury has developed new approaches to studying language, using sociophonetics and psycholinguistics. Its director in 2014 was Jen Hay. In a 2009 interview with radio journalist Kim Hill she describes a recent ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Lexicographers: Harry Orsman

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Harry Orsman edited the Dictionary of New Zealand English (1997), which recorded exclusively New Zealand words. This award-winning work was a product of over 40 years of research into New Zealand English. Listen to Orsman talk to radio journalist Brian Edwards about the New Zealand use ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Promoting multilingualism

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand-born and Israel-based sociolinguist Bernard Spolsky has contributed significantly to language policy theory and practice. He was a strong supporter of the revival of the Māori language, and is shown in 2008 with Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira, a strong advocate of te reo Māori...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Boy reading Jack and Jill magazine, 1959

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Comics were hugely popular with children and young people in the 1950s. This young boy in school uniform is reading the American children's magazine Jack and Jill, which included comics. The back page is devoted to the Tiny tales comic strip.  Cowboys had long ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Corrupting comics, 1957

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In the 1950s criticism of the supposedly corrupting influence of comics gathered steam, and they came under the purview of indecent publications legislation. In 1956 the government set up a special comics advisory committee which had the power to ban the import of comics. This is Minister of ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Changing vowel

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A recent vowel change in New Zealand English is the raising of the DRESS vowel into the area of the FLEECE vowel – this means that 'best' sounds like 'beast' and 'bed' like 'bead'. Here University of Canterbury linguistics scholar Jen Hay explains this change...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Eh

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Speakers of Māori English commonly end questioning sentences with 'eh' (pronounced to rhyme with 'may'), and this practice has crept into Pākehā English. As Māori-language scholar Jeanette King explains to journalist Kim Hill, the likely origin of this is the Māori word '...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Racing commentary

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

In this Nevile Lodge cartoon from 1955, four Kiwi blokes stop their card game to listen to a horse race on the radio. They were possibly listening to a commentary by Dave Clarkson, who called many horse races and trots in the Canterbury region from 1937. The sound recording is of his last ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Eastern rosella

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The eastern rosella has a distinctive red head, which contrasts with its yellow underbelly, and its blue and green wings and tail. Rosellas are often seen in pairs or in small flocks. Sound file from the ...

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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Mānuka honey

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Mānuka honey is produced by bees that feed on mānuka flowers. The honey from some areas has antibiotic properties. But the antibiotic compound leptospermone, found in the essential oil from mānuka, does not seem to be responsible for the biological activity of the honey. Listen to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Mynah

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The aggressive mynah was introduced to New Zealand from Asia. Its colouring is very distinctive – it has a black head, yellow beak and patch around the eye, and a cinnamon-brown body.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Skylark feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The trill of the skylark is a common sound in open areas of New Zealand, such as dunes or tussock grasslands. The female skylark builds the nest, but both parents feed the young. This adult skylark – at Birdlings Flat, Banks Peninsula – has a raised ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Male house sparrow

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Despite its small size, the house sparrow is probably the worst bird pest from a farmer’s perspective. Its short bill is adapted for eating seeds, and in New Zealand it feeds on grain crops such as wheat, barley and maize. The male has a distinctive ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Brown kiwi

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Brown kiwi are found in some North Island forests. While the feathers of flying birds are flattened and smoothed for aerodynamic effect, kiwi feathers are hair-like and fluffed up for better insulation. Kiwi have tiny wings, and get about on muscular legs that have strong, heavy bones. Their long...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Tūī

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

New Zealand has relatively few native passerines (perching birds) compared to other regions. But one is well known – the tūī, a beautiful songster. The tūī and bellbird are related to Australian honeyeaters. Their ancestors probably flew or were blown across the Tasman Sea, and then ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Kōkako pair

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Kōkako belong to the Callaeatidae family, which has no close relatives. This family also includes the saddleback and huia. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero. Any re-use of this audio is a breach...

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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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