Flora & Fauna

The Only Good Possum is...

Playing Possum with Rebecca Hawkes

In New Zealand’s alcoholic ingenuity, ‘Possum’ is a drinking game where players scale trees and consume beers (preferably 24-packs of Speights; Pride Of The South) until they fall to the ground from drunkenness. It is unclear whether the first or last to plummet is the real winner.


How to get rid of gorse

An interloper and an upstart, a new arrival that has outshone the locals. Gorse, that inescapable feature of our hillsides, its gold flowers a neon sign announcing its presence. It flowers twice here, once more than it does in its continent of origin, Europe. Like pine trees and 10 Guitars, it has had a life of its own in this country.

A Walk Back in Time

Celebrating our nature reserves

It took me awhile to come around to the idea of day trips. For years, I thought it wasn’t worth lacing my boots unless I’d be overnighting somewhere, lugging a ton of gear in and waking at least a day’s walk from anything. But that’s not always possible and gradually, my desire to spend time outdoors has overcome my prejudice about only spending a day in the bush.

Small Holes in the Silence

The beauty of rain

I can hear you making
small holes in the silence

Hone Tuwhare, Rain

A long time muse of art, music and literature, rain is the one meteorological phenomenon that fires the imagination like no other.

Moas, Moose and Moehau

New Zealand's bush mysteries

I was nine when a moa sighting made headlines. Paddy Freaney, the owner of the Bealey Hotel and a former SAS soldier, was hiking with two others in the Craigieburn range when they supposedly encountered a moa. It was a large reddish brown thing, which promptly ran away. Freaney took photos of it, and also documented its footprints.