Program Leaders

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Castle Hill
February 25, 2012

The people of Ngai Tahu named the area Kura Tawhiti and there you can find 500-year-old charcoal carvings from the Waitaha people. Kura Tawhitit means "treasure from a distant land" and refers to the kumara that was grown in the area. Here you can find limestone formations making up a karst landscape that have been carved by water and date back to the Oligocene. Limestone is made up of layers of organic sediment deposited in oceans. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Conservation Biology, Arthurs Pass

location: Castle Hill, Canterbury, New Zealand

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Female Giant Weta
February 6, 2012

At one point during the walk Kent found a female Cook Strait giant weta (Deinacrida rugosa), one of four species of weta found on Matiu/Somes island. While weta are found worldwide, the subfamily Deinacridinae is endemic to New Zealand. According to the fossil record they existed before Zealandia separated from Gondwana. They have done well on Matiu/Somes because of the presence of coastal plants from their natural habitat such as grass, flax, and tauhinu. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Field trip Wellington

location: Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

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Spotted Skink (Oligosoma lineoocellatum)
February 6, 2012

Presently four species of skink exist on Matiu/Somes Island. After the eradication of mammals from the island, these reptiles have had much success. They were a surprisingly common site at the time of our visit, which suggests what pre-human skink populations may have looked like. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Field trip Wellington

location: Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

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