Living dangerously

New Zealanders live in a beautiful but demanding land – the challenges of coping with its rugged mountains, powerful rivers and extremes of weather have helped forge the national character.

Part of story: Natural hazards – overview

Indoor bowls

The game

Part of story: Bowls, pétanque and tenpin

Soil features

We are most familiar with topsoil – the dark layer (also called the horizon) at the ground’s surface. Digging deeper yields surprising colours and structures. The underlying

Part of story: Soils

Wet and rock type-dominated soils

Wet soils

Part of story: Soils

Who needs search and rescue?

Most people who are rescued in New Zealand are taking part in outdoor sports and recreation, usually in summer. Boating and tramping account for a large number of search and rescue

Part of story: Search and rescue

Lows – depressions

Where the air pressure at the surface is low, air rises and becomes cooler. The water vapour in it begins to condense into tiny drops of water or, if it is cold enough, into tiny

Part of story: Weather

Natural hazards – overview

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and landslides are part of life in New Zealand. They have shaped the country’s beautiful landscape, but also caused devastation and loss of life.

Part of story: Natural hazards – overview

Sheep external parasites and fungal diseases

Fly strike Fly strike (myiasis) was not a problem in the early days of sheep farming in New Zealand. Flies were a nuisance for people and there are plenty of stories of woollen blankets

Part of story: Diseases of sheep, cattle and deer

The seasons

Spring Kōanga is the Māori word for spring (September to November). It includes the word ‘kō’, a digging implement: spring was the time for digging the soil. ‘Takē Kōanga,

Part of story: Tāwhirimātea – the weather

The sealers

Who were the sealers?

Part of story: Sealing

Sea, coast and lowland

The sea comes first in the Bay of Plenty. A sweeping curve defines the bay, from Ngā Kurī a Whārei to Tihirau (Bowentown Heads to Cape Runaway).

Part of story: Bay of Plenty region

Second World War and after


Part of story: Subantarctic islands