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Did you know moreporks mewed?

I woke up with the rain gurgling down the guttering at 5:30am this morning, made myself my customary morning coffee and sat down to do some work before the morning's quiet was broken by the duvet-bearing preschooler sharing her first thoughts of the day with me. As I typed, my muted keyboard percussion was accompanied by a "mew mew mew" sound* from the lanky poplars that line our top paddock. This curious mewing is the less well known call of the morepork (ruru) - the onomatopoeic "more-pork" call being the one we associate with them. (In fact, until only a week or so back I had no idea what creature this mystery call belonged to.) I am not sure what the mewing call means. I suppose, just li

Oases of nature created by unsung restoration heroes

Our communities are much the richer thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers who spend many hours - week in and week out - restoring and maintaining natural areas. One such area, only a 10 minute walk from where I live, is Greendale Reserve - one of the Kapiti Coast's best kept secrets. The 3.5 hectare reserve was created as a reserve contribution in 1994 when farmland between Otaihanga Road and Waikanae River was subdivided for lifestyle blocks. Comprised of river flats and duneland, the reserve follows the Muaupoko Stream, which flows into the Waikanae River further to the west. Seeing an opportunity to restore this long-neglected stream and surrounding land, Phil Palmer, who with his

The costs of our love affair with detached houses and cars - 1981 report

Last month, the OECD's most recent report on New Zealand's environmental 'performance' was released. This is the fourth OECD report on the way New Zealand manages its environment. The first, published in 1981, was one of the first 'environmental reports' ever undertaken by the OECD. This report is a fascinating read. But a disturbing portion of its content is as relevant today as it was back in 1981 - prompting one to wonder, how much have we really learned over the intervening decades. The following description of 'urban land use and pollution control' I found particularly germane, in light of recent coverage of the ongoing pressure on most fertile soils and health effects of leaded petrol

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