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NEW ZEALAND photos, articles, human interest stories, fun or interesting.

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Discussions News & Current Affairs (excluding Politics) NEW ZEALAND photos, articles, human interest stories, fun or interesting.

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  • #1713610
    Profile photo of vale019vale019
    Member since: August 20, 2012
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 23642

    hahaha SG. Did you have any photos taken – would love to see one  😀  😀

    Bryan, like you, my health won’t permit me to travel anymore but I would dearly love to go over there.

    Profile photo of vale019vale019
    Member since: August 20, 2012
    Topics: 9
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    Five weird things you didn’t know about NZ

    Predicting tides, making maps, managing red zone properties: it’s all in a day’s work for government department Land Information New Zealand.
    Now it has put together a list of some of the quirkier Kiwi facts it’s come across in doing its job.

    1. NZ is moving at about the same speed as your fingernails grow.
    Linz geodesy expert Graeme Blick said this movement averaged about 5-6cm a year – which is about how fast your fingernails grow.

    Because the country lies across the boundary of two tectonic plates, it’s always moving in two directions, and twisting too.

    New Zealand shifts several centimetres each year with normal tectonic processes – but the Kaikoura Earthquake caused much more dramatic effects, moving Cape Campbell 2m north. 2 cape campbell 02


    2. George St is the most common street name in New Zealand.  Linz keeps the official database of street addresses, which includes a whopping 74 George streets.
    A good reason to make sure you put the postcode on any letters you send this year.
    3 george street 03

    3. There are at least 8683 islands around our coastline

    Linz’s topographic maps show this many islands around the coastlines of the North, South, Stewart and the Chatham Islands, and other coastal islands.

    Of these 166 are the size of Wellington’s Matiu/Somes Island (250,000 sq m) or larger.

    If this sounds a lot, bear in mind that this doesn’t count the islands in lakes or other inland bodies of water, nor islands like the Snares and Kermadecs.
    4 somes island 04

    4. Most of New Zealand’s place names are not official

    Just because a place has a name doesn’t mean it’s official.

    Official place names have been through the New Zealand Geographic Board.

    The board makes sure place names follow a consistent and standardised approach, taking into account original Maori names, history, spelling and other factors.

    Place names that are commonly used and shown in publications such as maps and charts, and which haven’t been made official, are known as “recorded” names and include many of our major towns and cities such as Taupo, Timaru, New Plymouth, Greymouth, Whangarei, Wellington and many more.

    There are currently nearly 16,000 official place names and about 33,000 recorded place names.
    5 wellington 05


    5. Pine trees and goldfish bowl weed are two of New Zealand’s biggest plant pests

    Pine trees play an important part in our economy, but when they spread to areas where they are unwanted, they’re known as wilding pines and become an invasive pest.

    Six percent of New Zealand is now choked by wilding pines, and Linz is part of a national wildings management programme for getting rid of them.

    Lagarosiphon, or oxygen weed, is another import that has inflicted our waterways.
    It was brought here in the 1950s to be used in goldfish bowls, but has since found its way into many lakes and rivers and grows like, well, a weed.

    Linz is managing lagarosiphon, and other invasive aquatic weeds in several lakes including Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan.
    Removing wilding pines near Kaikoura
    6 wilding pines 06

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    Profile photo of supergoldsupergold
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    vale019 Member Member since: August 20, 2012 Topics: 9 Replies: 21002 vale019 March 5, 2019 at 6:08 pm hahaha SG. Did you have any photos taken – would love to see one

    Just one Val and that was some months after the perm and I had undergone several haircuts in the time between the perm and the photo’s when I felt my hair was a bit better.

    Supergold-Wainuiomata (Wellington)

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    william pickering

    William Pickering
    Rocket Man

    The launch of Sputnik in 1957 forced the United States into the space race. Fighting the Cold War, the Americans needed to show the world that they too could launch a rocket into space — and they had to do it quickly. Less than three months later Explorer 1 was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The man behind it: William Pickering from Wellington, New Zealand.

    In the next ten years, Pickering went on to become a pivotal figure in the American space race. Once he and his team had conquered the earth’s orbit, the sky was, literally, the limit. He worked at marrying the possibilities of technology with humanity’s wonderment at outer space. By sending spacecraft to the far edges of the solar system, they made us more aware of the galaxy we live in.

    William Hayward Pickering was born in Roxburgh Street, Mount Victoria, Wellington in 1910. His mother died when he was six and he was sent to live with his grandparents in Havelock, in the Marlborough Sounds at the northern tip of the South Island. He attended Havelock Primary School, the second school of New Zealand’s greatest scientist, Ernest Rutherford.

    The Road to Caltech
    In 1923, William started boarding at Wellington College. His father, a pharmacist, had left New Zealand to work in the tropics; an environment he didn’t believe was healthy for his sons. The young Pickering was inspired by his maths teacher, AC ‘Pop’ Gifford. Mr Gifford founded the school’s observatory, the place William first looked through a telescope towards the heavens.

    Pickering’s ability to marry practical and theoretical science was coached at Wellington College. With schoolmate Fred White (later Dr F. White CBE, CEO of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Pickering built an early radio station. The two communicated by Morse code with others around the world.

    After high school Pickering studied engineering at Canterbury University. He completed one year of study before an uncle (who divided his time between living in New Zealand and California), encouraged him to apply to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Although a new university, Caltech already had an excellent reputation for science and engineering.

    Pickering completed a bachelor degree in electrical engineering in 1932, and returned to New Zealand hoping to work as an engineer. Unable to find satisfactory employment, however, he returned to California and to education. He completed his Masters in 1933 and a PhD in Physics in 1936.

    That same year he joined the Caltech faculty, teaching electrical engineering. He was made professor in charge of radio and electronics and also appointed to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United States Air Force. As the cold war unfolded the link between academic bodies, research organisations, and the military grew. Caltech, along with MIT, Berkeley, University of Chicago and other notable American institutions, became part of the mix.

    wp rocket

    JPL and Explorer 1
    During World War II Pickering had become involved in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Jet technology was comparatively new to Caltech, but war was to quickly advance the technology from theory to reality. The American military knew it and enlisted the aid of academic institutions. Pickering initially became involved with the Lab through his studies into telemetry – the science of radio control.

    In 1950 he finished lecturing and began working with JPL full time. By 1954 he was the Lab’s Director. His rise to the top was to do with both how well he knew science and how well he knew scientists. His role of director was a multifaceted one: not only was his scientific and technical expertise to the fore, but his antipodean diplomacy was required to lead not only volatile and brilliant scientists, but also work with politicians and military hierarchy during the pressure-cooker political environment of the Cold War.

    Sputnik and The Race For Space
    On October 4,1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. After 10 years of Cold War the Soviets had beaten the Americans into space. Circling the globe every 90 minutes, Sputnik contained a beeping transmitter that could be received by any short wave radio on earth. The American public knew it was there.

    In a 1993 lecture at the University of Michigan, Pickering said the launch of Sputnik was no secret. In 1955 both the Soviet and American governments had announced their intentions to experiment with satellite. If the public wasn’t listening when these announcements were made, two years later they certainly heard the sound of a sinister Sputnik coming over the airwaves above middle America. Or as Pickering said:

    “It was only the beeping reality of Sputnik that suddenly made the threat of intercontinental atomic warfare with ballistic rockets more than a science fiction story.”

    The Americans were working to match Sputnik, and two months after the Russians’ success the Naval Research Laboratory launched the Vanguard. A test launch, on December 7th, 1957, was to be viewed under the glare of the international media, the craft exploded on the launchpad.

    Fortunately, Pickering and the JPL had been working since Sputnik on their own satellite. If their launch went successfully it would repair some of the US Government’s bruised ego.

    Explorer 1 was sucessfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on January 31, 1958, less than four months after Sputnik. It orbited the earth for the next 10 years.

    The Cold War Heats Up
    Working with Pickering was a cosmic ray expert from the University of Iowa, Dr James Van Allen, and Dr Wernher von Braun. The latter was the German rocket scientist who was the masterminded the deadly V2 rockets that devastated London during World War II. Pickering was the Lab Director; he had to bring these two geniuses together for a common goal in an incredibly short time frame, while breathing down their necks were the Government, the Pentagon and the patriotic demands of the American people.

    Washington DC was cold and wet the night of February 1st, 1958, hours after the successful launch of Explorer 1. Pickering, Van Allen and von Braun drove through the windswept, deserted streets between the Pentagon and the National Academy of Sciences. They knew the importance of what they had achieved, but were uncertain about how much interest, outside of scientific circles, it would generate.

    They needn’t have been concerned. Despite the inclement weather and the fact it was after midnight, a press gang had turned out in force to question the trio. A photo from the press conference of the men holding a model of Explorer 1 represents both the entry of America into the space race and William Pickering’s proudest moment.

    wp 1958
    Pickering, Van Allen and Von Braun hold a model of Explorer 1, February 1, 1958 – America had entered the space race Copyright http://www.corbis.com

    Explorer 1 made the discovery that a radiation belt circled the Earth. This would become known as the Van Allen Belt. A later satellite, Explorer III, launched in December 1958, discovered a second radiation belt at a much higher altitude. Yet Explorer’s scientific discoveries were secondary in the minds of the American public, who felt equal parts of fear and wonder: Explorer’s launch was the starting shot of the space race and the Cold War had immediately become more intense. The conquest of space, the last frontier, had begun.

    Venus and Mars

    In 1958 Congress passed the Space Act that established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This divided space development research into civilian (NASA’s area) and military, which became the Air Force’s territory. This allowed Pickering and JPL a far freer hand in their work. They were given a contract containing three broad categories for their space missions.

    1. Near Earth Satellites. To make measurements of: the Earth from space; to explore the near Earth space environment; and explore the cosmos from observing points above the Earth’s atmosphere;

    2. Deep space missions to explore the solar systems;

    3. The development of manned space travel.

    Pickering said in 1993:

    “JPL argued for, and received, a charter to develop the deep space missions. As a personal aside, I was delighted to hold a contract that said in essence ‘go out and explore the depths of the solar system’.”

    Wellington to Venus
    Despite the aggressive approach taken by the US Government at the time, and which continued after John Kennedy’s election in 1960, American progress in space was slower than the Soviet’s. They were sending more powerful rockets than America’s into space and orbiting the moon. It wasn’t until 1962 when the JPL-designed Mariner II powered to Venus that America could claim a significant ‘first’.

    With Explorer I, Pickering helped America take its first tentative steps towards the darkness of space. With Mariner II he and his team were sprinting hard into the great unknown. The American public, bubbling over with optimism and confidence during the prosperous Camelot days, were enthralled.

    Pickering was pictured on the cover of Time magazine on March 8, 1963. William Pickering: from Roxburgh Street to Venus.

    wp time1963 2

    William Pickering on the cover of Time Magazine

    Venus, close and of similar size to Earth, had long fascinated astronomers, scientists and science fictioneers. Unfortunately for the latter, Venus turned out to be a hot, dry and dead place, only the relatively cool clouds being capable of sustaining life. Any life they could sustain, which was a highly remote possibility, would be dust-size micro-organisms.

    Yet, as Time wrote, the fact that Pickering and his team sent Mariner to Venus, was as massive an accomplishment as the findings themselves:

    “The very fact that Mariner carried its intricate cargo so far, made so many observations and radioed its reports to Earth with such singular success marks the most important accomplishment in the annals of space exploration. It is a proud first for the US. No achievements by Russian cosmonaut or US astronaut, nor experiment made by any of the myriad other satellites that have been shot aloft has taught man nearly so much as he has learned already from the improbable voyage of Mariner II.”

    The following year, on November 28, 1964, Mariner IV was launched towards Mars. On July 23, 1965 Pickering was, once again, on the cover of Time:

    wp time1965 2

    From the Time story:

    “While the world watched and waited the ambitious timetable of US space exploration has been put to its most demanding test. And the undulating whine of JPL’s computers seemed to change subtly into a cry of exaltation. Mariner had made it.

    “This was the triumphant climax of an eight-month experiment. The pictures pulsing back across the far reaches of space marked the final payoff. For those pictures, JPL boss William Pickering and his crew had sweated out Mariner’s launch from a Cape Kennedy rocket pad; the agile combination of men and computers in the Pasadena lab had solved complex equations of trajectory with split-second precision; the members of the Mariner team had kept a close watch as they monitored their spacecraft’s every signal.”

    wp kbrown02
    William Pickering 1998, holding the two Time magazines he appeared on the cover of. Copyright of Karen Brown, Wellington

    Mariner had travelled 325 million miles in 228 days. It was launched using early-1960s technology, hardly comparable to today’s personal computers. It showed the world photographs of the Martian surface: our first real look at the red planet that humanity had.

    The 1960s began with Kennedy declaring that by the end of the decade man would walk on the moon. With only six months of the decade remaining, the promise became reality. Pickering now rates one of his major achievements as the Ranger VII spacecraft returning the first pictures of the lunar surface in 1966. Before this many scientists believed the Moon was covered in a thick layer of dust. Ranger’s observations disproved this, and led the way for Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the lunar surface.

    The rest of this interesting article is in the link …. https://www.nzedge.com/legends/william-pickering/

    Supergold-Wainuiomata (Wellington)

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    Profile photo of vale019vale019
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    What an interesting article, SG.
    What a clever man – in regard to employment it seems such a pity that NZ was unable to hold him here.
    Thank you so much for posting that.


    Profile photo of vale019vale019
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    Putangirua Pinnacles (earth pillars), Wairarapa, New Zealand

    Some 7 to 9 million years ago when sea levels were much higher, the Aorangi ranges were an island.
    As this landmass was eroded over time, large alluvial fans formed on its southern shores.
    Within a few million years, however, sea levels rose again and the island was submerged.
    Since the ice ages, sea levels have receded and the old alluvial fans have been exposed to the erosive forces of wind and water which have weathered away the conglomerate.
    In some places this conglomerate is protected from erosion by a cap of cemented silt or rock; this has resulted in the formation of spectacular pinnacles, many of which have prominent fluting caused by rainwater running down their sides during major storms.

    8 putangirua pinnacles 08

    It is not known exactly how long the pinnacles have been forming but they are thought to be less than 125,000 years old; major erosion probably began 7000 years ago and accelerated in the last 1000 years with the deforestation of the area.
    The current erosion rate is approximately 1 cm per year.

    Part of the Paths of the Dead sequence in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was filmed on location here, as was the opening sequence of Braindead.

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    Wow! What an amazing sight! Thank you Val.

    Supergold-Wainuiomata (Wellington)

    Profile photo of supergoldsupergold
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    ‘This was no feral cat’ – Marlborough couple say they nearly hit a black panther on SH1 north of Kaikoura
    panther.jpg.hashed.8e8cec24.desktop.story .inlineA melanistic jaguar – or ‘black panther’ at the Henry Doorly Zoo in the US. Source: Cburnett/Wikimedia Commons

    A well-known entrepreneur and her partner have become the latest to report a sighting of a large, panther-like creature in a remote part of the South Island.

    There are no large cats native to New Zealand, but many people have reported sightings of large cats in remote areas of the South Island over the years, fuelling a theory that there may be an animal – or even a breeding population – living wild there.

    Juliearna Kavanagh of Picton – an entrepreneur who has owned and run numerous businesses in Marlborough – and her partner Warren Lewis say they were driving on State Highway 1 just before midnight on Friday when the encounter took place.

    A map showing the approximate area where a woman and her partner say they encountered a large cat which looked like a puma.
    A map showing the approximate area where a woman and her partner say they encountered a large cat which looked like a puma. cat map.jpg.hashed.f06b52bc.desktop.story .inline 1
    The road was very quiet, she said, and they were about 10 minutes south of Ward travelling north at about 75km/h around a bend.

    “We came around the corner and basically there it was – it was 10-15 feet in front of us,” Ms Kavanagh said.

    Ms Kavanagh said the creature bounded across the road very close in front of their car and showed up in their headlights.

    She described it as being much larger and longer than a domestic or feral cat, and it was black or very dark brown in colour.

    “It had a big cat head and it had a very sleek, strong-looking body, and it had a huge, long tail.”

    She and Mr Lewis were shocked, and checked with each other that they had both seen the same thing – a large, black, panther-like cat.

    “For the first couple of minutes we just sort of looked at each other,” Ms Kavanagh said.

    Juliearna Kavanagh and Warren Lewis.
    julie.jpg.hashed.778c858f.desktop.story .inline
    “We couldn’t quite believe what we had seen.”

    After the sighting, Ms Kavanagh called her father, who told her “this thing’s been seen before”.

    She said it was so unbelievable they had considered not reporting it for fear of being ridiculed, but eventually decided such a creature could pose a danger to unwary trampers or animals in the area.

    Ms Kavanagh reported the sighting to police on Saturday morning, as well as to the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

    She said an MPI representative called her back and questioned her in depth about what she had seen.

    Ms Kavanagh said she was told by the representative that MPI had received “six to eight” similar reports in recent years.

    She said they are absolutely sure of what they saw and that they had not misidentified the creature.

    “I grew up in Southland, Warren grew up in the bush – there’s just no way in hell this was a feral cat,” she said.

    A size comparison between a cougar, a domestic cat, and a human.
    comparison.jpg.hashed.4fe5c5e9.desktop.story .inline
    A spokeperson for MPI confirmed to 1 NEWS that they had received a call from Ms Kavanagh “in relation to a sighting of what they believed was a large cat”.

    “We have previously received calls over the years about similar sightings,” the spokesperson said.

    “MPI has investigated many photographs, footprints and hair, scat and faeces samples, and in each of those previous cases, we have concluded the sighting to be that of a large feral cat.”

    Ms Kavanagh said she understands some people will be skeptical, but she considers herself a “straight up and down” person and said anyone who knows her and how she does business will attest to that.

    “This is the reality – this is what we saw,” Ms Kavanagh said.

    “This was no feral cat and that’s a fact – it was a big animal.

    “We were close to it – there is no doubt in my mind, it’s 110 per cent – this was from the large cat family.

    “This is a puma – there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is what it was.”


    April 2019 – Kevin Cook and his partner spot a large cat-like creature in the Burkes Pass area near State Highway 8.

    December 2017 – British tourist Nick Baggott spots and photographs a large dark-coloured cat near Lake Tekapo.

    September 2016 – Ange Montgomery spots a large black panther-like creature near her property in Eiffelton.

    October 2013 – A delivery driver reports seeing a large black “panther” feeding on road kill outside Fairlie in the early hours of the morning.

    August 2011 – Videographers Geoff Mackley and Bradley Ambrose film what they described as an unusually large cat near Kaikoura.

    May 2009 – A farmer shoots video of a large cat, claiming to have seen a puma on a North Canterbury farm.

    October 2003 – Truck driver Chad Stewart reports seeing a huge black cat in the Mayfield foothills.


    Supergold-Wainuiomata (Wellington)

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    Thanks for posting that article, SG – intriguing!!!
    Almost 16 years since the first sighting – if these are genuine sightings of a puma/panther I would think there must be a breeding group. I think their life span is approx 12 – 15 years.


    Profile photo of supergoldsupergold
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    New Māori name created for submerged continent Zealandia
    15:36, May 09 2019

    The new name for the mostly submerged continent to which New Zealand belongs is Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia
    Zealandia, the mostly submerged continent on which New Zealand sits, has been given a Māori name.

    GNS Science, which played a big role in bringing the existence of Zealandia to the world’s attention, said the New Zealand Geographic Board had wanted a Māori perspective considered for the name.

    That would be achieved by making connections between the places where Māori migrated from, and whenua/land and kiwa/sea, GNS said. That was widened to a name that was acceptable to both Māori and Pasifika.

    GNS approached Associate Professor Mānuka Hēnare, of Auckland University, to recommend a Māori name that reflected the nature and position of the continent.

    READ MORE:  (These items are available in the link at the bottom of the post)
    * Te Papa’s biggest revamp in 21 years
    * NZ actually sits on a continent called Zealandia, it’s just that most of it is under water
    * Expert answers your questions about Zealandia
    * Zealandia used to be closer to the surface, with a very different climate

    The name he came up with is Te Riu-a-Māui, meaning the hills, valleys and plains of Māui. It is being combined with the existing name, making the full name of the 4.9 million square kilometre continent Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia.

    “​Māui is an ancestor of all Polynesians. He sailed and explored the great ocean and caught the fish which he and his crew pulled up. The fish became many of the islands we know today,” GNS said.

    “Riu is defined in the Māori Dictionary as the hull (of a canoe), a basin (eg Waikato basin), a belly, the core (of a body). It is the whole that holds the parts together. Te Riu-a-Māui brings together geological science and the traditional oral narratives of Māui’s exploits across the Pacific Ocean.”

    E Mervyn Taylor’s Te Ika-a-Maui mural on ceramic tiles
    Wendy Shaw, the secretary for the NZ Geographical Board told Stuff, it’s possible the board could favour the Māori name, rather than a dual name.

    “The advice given is that there definitely should be a Māori name, perhaps a dual name, or perhaps just the Māori name on its own.”

    To become the official name of the continent, e Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia needs to be presented to the board for approval. From there, it is subject to public submissions and analysis, which could take over a year.

    Shaw said the board has the ability to accept the proposal, or potentially “go with something different”.

    GNS said it was working to use the dual name.

    “The initial focus of GNS Science is to get it in general circulation and informally accepted. Then we can judge if formal recognition is desirable and possible.”

    The first major use of the new name was for an exhibit that formed part of Te Papa’s new $12 million nature zone, Te Taiao Nature.

    Hēnare was instrumental in naming three ships for the Royal New Zealand Navy – Te Kaha, Te Maru, and Te Mana – and was well practised at recommending names acceptable across the Pacific.

    If submitted for approval, the next NZ Geographical Board meeting will be held on June 20, with submissions finalised between six to eight weeks prior.


    Supergold-Wainuiomata (Wellington)

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