Chasing Grey Ghosts

In search of the South Island kōkako

My bird nerd status was earned at age ten with school holidays spent helping to release saddleback on Kapiti Island. A lifelong obsession was fledged. Now, as a 30-something with kids, time in the wild is hard to come by, but a couple of times a year a group of city-bound mates and I escape to the hills.

Travels with My Mother

A postcard from Punga Cove, Marlborough Sounds

The Tramper’s Las Vegas

A postcard from the Orongorongo Valley


A postcard from Mount Somers

Just Over There

A Postcard from Kenepuru Sound, Marlborough

Heading South

A postcard from Macquarie Island

Time of the Season

A Postcard from Alpha Hut

Who Dares Birds

An ornithological education

In the late '80s a small item in the Evening Post told of the discovery of a South Island kōkako feather on Stewart Island. Ten-years-old, I wrote to the Wildlife Service asking if I ‘could please be kept up to date with future news’ of the thought-to-be-extinct bird with the orange cravat, Zorro mask and polished steel cloak.

Creeping up Behind You

Knowing when to turn back

We’d planned a good solid loop track. No retracing of footsteps. No having to reinvest in the landscape we’d already seen.

Call of the Weird

Some of New Zealand’s stranger flora and fauna

I was preparing to tramp around Mount Taranaki when I discovered the stinkhorn. One of the guides I read mentioned these strange things, brightly-coloured and foul-smelling fungus. They emit a rotten meat odour to attract flies that might then spread their spores. For me it was a surprise, a reminder that the bush held things I had never heard of, or even considered.


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