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Proof of Spanish discovery?

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Some have speculated that Spanish or Portuguese ships reached New Zealand, or became wrecked on its coast, before Abel Tasman’s arrival in 1642. This ‘Spanish helmet’, allegedly fished out of Wellington Harbour, is seen by some as proof that the Spanish did reach New Zealand. ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Stuck in the suburbs

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

By 1965 the sprawling state-housing suburb of Cannons Creek, Porirua East, had been developed over what were formerly gorse-clad hills. In the 1960s the new suburbs sprawling across New Zealand's urban landscape came under attack for failing to provide a sense of community for many of their ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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‘Kiwis care’ march

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Listen to Tania Harris (centre) and other participants talk about the ‘Kiwis care’ march down Queen Street in 1981. Two of the speakers highlight a widely held public perception that industrial unrest was caused by expatriate British unionists – often called 'Pommie stirrers'.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Rural delivery mail

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The many small farming settlements in New Zealand have relied on the rural delivery service for over a hundred years. This farmer in the Ruapehu district clears the newspapers, letters and parcels in his rural delivery mailbox, in the 1940s. Listen to rural delivery man Doug Wilson talk ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Murchison earthquake road damage

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

These fissures in a country road near Murchison show some of the damage wrought on transport routes by the 1929 Murchison quake. Len Hutchins experienced the quake, and his recollections were recorded by Jim Henderson in this 1964 interview. Sound file: Len Hutchings, interview by Jim ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Buzz O'Bumble

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Radio shows have been a popular source of entertainment for children since the mid-20th century. Wellington radio DJ Lindsay Yeo headed a family show on Radio 2ZB in the 1970s and 1980s. He created a cast of characters who appeared on the show and at children's events. Listen to a ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Sidney Holland

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Prime Minister Sidney Holland lays a wreath at the Wellington cenotaph during Anzac Day ceremonies in 1950. Holland was a staunch supporter of the British Empire, something he emphasises in this clip from his 1951 election victory speech. Sound file from

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Thresher

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Threshing machines were used in New Zealand for more than 80 years, finally declining in use in the mid-1940s. Forerunners of combine harvesters, they separated the grain of crops such as wheat and oats. Listen to Jack Perkins in his radio show ‘From the...

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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Nesting white-backed magpies

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Magpies were introduced from Australia. They normally nest in exotic trees, like this pair in a pine. They are found throughout the North Island and in most parts of the South Island, except Central Otago and the northern and southern tips of the West Coast. They have entered the national ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Rooks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Rooks have a fierce beak and glossy feathers. The rook is the only member of the crow family in New Zealand, as the two endemic New Zealand ravens are now extinct. Sound file from the Department of Conservation

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Male and female blackbirds

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Although blackbirds are probably New Zealand’s most widespread bird, not many people know that only the male (top) is actually black. It also has a distinctive orange beak. The female blackbird (bottom) is brown with a variegated underside. She builds the...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Song thrush feeding chicks

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Song thrushes are common in all parts of New Zealand, except native bush. They lay their eggs in the spring and often raise up to three broods a season, but rarely in the same nest. The young nestlings are fed by both the male and female, and usually fledge...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Whistling frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A native of south-eastern Australia and Tasmania, the brown whistling frog is the smallest of the three introduced frogs. Eggs are laid under water and hatch into free-swimming tadpoles, unlike the native species. Its call is a familiar sound on the South Island’s West Coast, as well as on ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Green and golden bell frog

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

The green and golden bell frog was introduced to Auckland from Sydney in the 1860s. The brownish eardrum shows clearly, just behind the eye. The female grows to 9 centimetres, and the smaller male to 6 centimetres. It lays thousands of eggs on water, and these hatch as small black tadpoles. With ...

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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‘Towards Banks Peninsula’

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

Denis Glover was one of the writers who came of age in the 1930s and began to explore the meaning and mythology of the land. In this extract from his 1958 poem ‘Towards Banks Peninsula’, he describes a walk from Port Levy to Pigeon Bay. The photo looks across Lyttelton Harbour to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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Flock of bar-tailed godwits

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

A large flock of godwits settles on the shelly beach of Miranda, on the Firth of Thames coast near Auckland. Eastern bar-tailed godwits arriving from Alaska need to feed intensively to replace the reserves lost during their long flight. They also need to ...

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
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A lament

Ministry for Culture and Heritage

This lament, ‘E pā tō hau’, was composed by Rangiamoa for her cousin Te Wano of Ngāti Apakura and Waikato. Like many such songs, it compares the tears of those mourning to rain falling from the sky. This extract includes the reference to rain.

Ministry for Culture and Heritage