In Our Nature

Nicola Toki is a self-confessed nature nerd who would never kill a weta, but is a crack possum shooter, stoat catcher and mouse hunter.

The cost of losing nature

02:15pm 02 Sep 2013

Our blase behaviour to our natural environment is going to cost us in the long run. In this, the last In Our Nature blog post, I'd like everyone to start thinking about the nature inequality gap and how we can work to close it.

The last post

The In Our Nature blog has come to the end of its life on Stuff. This was not my decision, but I'm ready to move on and I have some other cool projects on the boil to keep me busy for quite some time. Before I exit though, there are some things I want to say.  

Put simply, we must stop this madness where we think that our environment sits apart from our economic future. We must recognise the widening nature inequality gap, and we must leave this environment in the same or in a better state for future New Zealanders to enjoy. Anything less and we have sold ourselves out as a once-proud egalitarian, clean and green nation. To not live up to our national identity and our international brand is not just about losing our sense of self, but it will hurt us in the pocket in the long run.

Economy environment crossroads

The value of writing about nature

Finding your Nature Space

02:00pm 29 Aug 2013

Heaps of people in New Zealand are keen to do "nature stuff" in their neck of their woods, but often it's tricky trying to work out what things are happening and where. Today's blog is about helping those people navigate toward some cool conservation activities in their own backyards.

What's your whanau doing?

It's timely that next month marks Conservation Week - an annual series of local events that has been around for decades. This year's theme, "What's your whanau doing?", is a chance for people to express how much or little they have the time to do, and make pledges to contribute their part toward looking after our native wildlife and wild places.  

Conservation Week has been officially part of the calendar for 43 years - for a wee trip down memory lane, check out this selection of Conservation Week posters from the past 30 years or so. I remember these gracing our classroom walls when I was a schoolkid, so it's pretty cool to see them again.

I particularly like this one by New Zealand artist Don Binney from 1979.

Nature on the silver screen

08:45am 28 Aug 2013

Following in the footsteps of Sir Peter Jackson, two Kiwi nature films have been scoring some big hits at film festivals around the world. Yet what sets these films apart from our big-budget blockbusters like The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings is that both have been made on next-to-no-budget and are solo operations, with each filmmaker taking a one-man-band approach to creating them.

Soul in the sea

Amy Taylor has made a deep impression with her film Soul in the Sea - which tells the story of bottlenose dolphin Moko, who spent a couple of summers entertaining holidaymakers and locals off the coast of Mahia near Gisborne, and eventually near Whakatane a few years ago.  

Moko was a "friendly dolphin", an individual who chose to spend his time with people rather than fellow dolphins. For two years, our headlines were full of stories about Moko and his antics, including a few regarding his rambunctious behaviour and possible danger to humans. In any case, for most people Moko was a delight to behold and having had my own brief opportunity to play with Moko at Mahia, far from the crowds, I can see why people were so taken by him.

Amy&moko (photo: Mike Smith)

Question time with In Our Nature...

12:00pm 23 Aug 2013

Today's blog is to let you know that next week will be the last of the In Our Nature blogs - a bit of a bugger, but as they say, "All good things must come to an end". I'm sure I'll be able to find other ways of getting a nature-nerd voice out there in the public sphere. In the meantime of course (shameless plug warning) you can buy my books if you want your fill of quirky native wildlife factoids. (To my publisher who I've been hiding from, yes of course I am going to write the next one very soon!)

I'm sure that my last blog will be full of nostalgic reminiscing of the topics we've covered in the past 14 months, so for now I'll just say it's been a swell time, I've really enjoyed the breadth of issues we've covered, the debates that have ensued (three hundred and forty-seven comments later on the 1080 post alone) and mostly your feedback about the wildlife you have encountered at your place, or on your travels. The level of interaction from you all has been fun and certainly challenging.  

To the chap who emailed me this week regarding my blog on seismic surveying, accusing me of being "another wroter [sic] who is ashamed to put his/her name on their article", I apologise. Perhaps the banner with my face and name on it was not bold enough? I can assure you this was not an attempt to hide from my responsibilities as a wroter. 

Commotion in the ocean screenshot

Clearly my byline is far too inconspicuous, leading to conspiracy theories about my reluctance to put my name to my blogs. Apologies for those of you who've been led astray by this. : )

The commotion in the ocean

10:00am 22 Aug 2013

Oil giant Anadarko, best known for its part in the Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, is about to embark on seismic surveying in New Zealand, potentially threatening our world-renowned marine mammal watching industry. Will this activity kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

It reads like something more akin to satire - clean green New Zealand (already making international headlines for not living up to our green credentials), has given the go-ahead for Texas oil giant Anadarko to embark on seismic surveying off the east coast of the South Island -  near Kaikoura, the home of many of our famous and lucrative ecotourism operations. Is this short-term gain for long-term pain mentality for real?

Whale watching

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has assured us that New Zealand has the best regulatory framework in the world. Yet there has never been a drill rig at the depths proposed and permitted for in New Zealand waters ... so how do we know what regulations work for something that hasn't actually been tested yet?  

Rolling in the deep...

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