Growing up in New Zealand calibrates you to anticipate seismic apocalypse. Auckland, the country’s largest city, is built on a volcanic field, which has erupted more than 50 times. At some point, volcanologists warn us, magma will force its way to the surface again. It’s just a matter of when – and how well we’ll be able to evacuate when it does.
Auckland feels like several cities jammed together on the same narrow tongue of land. On one coast, there’s a calm harbor studded with islands; the other coast is a completely different character, with steep, bush-clad ranges hemming in beaches where the sand is black and the surf is wild.
One of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, Parnell has long been a neighborhood of decaying glory, stately but stuffy and decidedly uncool. Now, it’s starting to come alive once again. Old shipping warehouses have been refashioned into offices and boutiques, the creative industries are moving in, and a couple of smash-hit restaurants and cafes are drawing new crowds to the 1960s-era village and shopping strip. Parnell already has a lot going for it: the lush Domain park separating it from the city, a long main road leading down to the sea, a swath of coastline.
Two of Auckland’s arterial roads, running parallel to each other, host two of the city’s most vibrant food communities. Separated by barely half a mile, Sandringham Road’s hub of South Asian cuisine is matched only by Dominion Road’s strip of East Asian eateries, the closest thing Auckland has to a Chinatown.
Restaurants in these areas regularly pop up, flare in popularity, move or disappear. Many others, though, are stalwarts that have stood the test of time, becoming favorites for solo week...
Grey Lynn is the most rewarding of Auckland’s neighborhoods to traverse on foot. Take a wrong turn and you’ll wander down narrow streets of lovingly restored villas, with wisteria and bougainvillea draped over porch roofs, rambling gardens running wild. Loosely bordered by Great North Road on one side and Ponsonby Road on another, Grey Lynn spans a variety of communities, from Tongan churchgoers to flat-packing university students. This is a neighborhood where locals are likely to keep chicke...
When Great Barrier Island, off the coast of Auckland, became a Dark Sky Sanctuary, I wrote this story for Singapore Airlines' inflight magazine, SilverKris.
It’s a fiercely-fought contest, a 24-hour endurance event, a significant pest control operation, and a family sporting occasion. The 25th birthday of the Great Easter Bunny Hunt is one more assault in the war against the rabbits of Central Otago—and for the Southern Hopper Stoppers, it’s also a celebration of the friendships forged on the front line.
Kauri create shelter and nourishment for other species to grow, but now, a disease without a cure is killing these forest giants one by one. In the past five years, the infection rate of kauri has more than doubled in the only forest where it’s monitored—the Waitakere Ranges. At least one in five trees there are doomed. Can we save the species?
When the MV Rena broke in half on January 8, 2012, three months after it ploughed at full speed into Astrolabe Reef, the water around it bloomed a bright, tropical blue.
The colour was due to the 25-kilogram bags of milk powder that had ruptured during the previous day’s storm.
It was just one of the commodities that the Rena disgorged into the Bay of Plenty over the following months...
In a library of palm-leaf manuscripts, everything smells like camphor. Each page must be regularly oiled to keep it soft and moist; if it dries, it turns to dust, like tree bark that disintegrates when it becomes brittle.
For Clemency Montelle, the sight of a library full of these thousand-year-old manuscripts, rows and rows of shelves retreating backwards, hasn’t yet been dulled by familiarity...