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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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Dunnock

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The dunnock is also called the hedge sparrow because its colour is similar to the female house sparrow. However, its fine bill shows that, unlike the sparrow, the dunnock mainly eats invertebrates and small insects – like beetles, flies and aphids – ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Goldfinch feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The goldfinch is spectacularly coloured, with patches of red, black, gold, brown and white. The female builds the nest and incubates the eggs. After hatching, the female stays in the nest with the chicks for the first week. The male feeds the female who, in...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Redpoll

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Redpolls have a distinctive red forehead, and in autumn and winter the males develop a pinkish-red breast. At that time of year redpolls often form flocks of up to several thousand birds.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Yellowhammer with chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Yellowhammers feed their young in nests that are usually close to the ground in gorse, bracken or long grass.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Cirl bunting

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Cirl buntings are not often seen in New Zealand, but they can be quickly recognised by the yellow lines above and below each eye. Sound file from the Department of Conservation.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Rabbit hunters

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

When other work was not available rabbiting provided an income for rural workers in the South Island. These men are at a summer camp in 1909, although rabbiting often took place in winter when the skins were at their best. The conditions were hard – but ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Myxomatosis experiment

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Myxomatosis is caused by the myxoma virus, and was first identified killing rabbits in Uruguay in 1896. Trials of the disease began in Australia in 1938, and in 1950 it was released into the wild rabbit population with remarkable success. It was introduced ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Brunner mine disaster, 1896

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The photograph shows one of the first bodies to be recovered from the Brunner mine. The worst loss of life in New Zealand mining occurred at this mine on 26 March 1896. An explosion was heard at 9.30 a.m. Two men went underground to investigate and were ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Mervyn Thompson performs Coaltown blues

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Mervyn Thompson was born at Kaitangata in 1936 and spent most of his early years on the West Coast. He worked for five years as a miner, and later he became a distinguished actor, playwright and director. In the play Coaltown blues, he relived the poverty and struggles of his boyhood. ...

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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Europa petrol station

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

During the 1930s, Europa was one of the brand names under which imported petrol was sold to New Zealand motorists. This radio jingle was used to advertise the fuel to motorists. Sound file from Radio New Zealand Sound Archives Ngā Taonga Kōrero...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Recalling the Hawke’s Bay earthquake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Jean Martin was working as a housekeeper in Napier when the 1931 earthquake struck. She remembers the motion of the earthquake, and describes the scene outside. This photograph shows dramatic wreckage on a Napier road. Sound file: Jean Martin, interview by ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Remembering the 1855 quake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Elsie Harris talks about the 1855 earthquake. Her grandparents owned a farm near the Pāuatahanui Inlet, which was affected by the quake. The image shows a watercolour of nearby Porirua Harbour, painted about 1842. Sound file: Elsie Harris, interview...

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...

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 ...

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...

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 ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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An account of the June earthquake

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Tex Charteris remembers his experience on the Wairarapa coast during the June 1942 earthquake. Damage was widespread to roads and bridges in the region. Here a member of the Home Guard stands ready to warn travellers that the bridge is impassable. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage