Welcome to Year of the Dragon: a New Zealand “dragon” story

Not being an avid follower of the Chinese zodiac, I was not aware that 2012 was the Year of the Dragon until yesterday, when I read a post of a favourite blogsite of mine. So, I thought it would be an opportune time to write about a New Zealand “dragon”.

The tuatara represents 225 million years of history on four scaly (and rather wrinkly) legs; it is the only survivor of an ancient group of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as dinosaurs. Its relatives became extinct 60 million years ago – and for this reason it is often referred to as a ‘living fossil’. Continue reading

The end of whaling in New Zealand: the Soviet factor

Like so many other industries based on a finite natural resource, whaling in New Zealand has a long history of over-use, leading to a collapse of that resource. The southern right whale was caught from shore-based stations in the early nineteenth century, but by 1850 their numbers had been so depleted that shore-based whaling was limited. Continue reading