New Zealand


Space Place at Carter Observatory


The Beehive is the popular name for the Executive Wing of the parliamentary complex because of the building’s shape. This is where the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have offices, and where the Cabinet meets. Sir Basil Spence, a British architect, designed a concept for the Beehive during a visit to Wellington in 1964. In his concept, rooms and offices radiated from a central core. This concept was developed by the Government Architect of the Ministry of Works. The Beehive was built in stages between 1969 and 1979, when the first parliamentary offices moved in. The Beehive is 72 meters tall. It has 10 floors above ground and four floors below. It is connected to Bowen House, where many members of Parliament and Ministers have offices, by an underground walkway that runs underneath Bowen Street.

The statue in front of the Beehive is Richard Sodden, one of New Zealand’s important prime ministers. A few social legislations passed during his reign.

Grade: A+


Mount Eden

Mt Eden (Maungawhau) is a suburb in Auckland with the mountain being a mark on the skyline for many parts of the Auckland isthmus. Mt Eden consists of three cones and is 196 meters above sea level. The mountain archaeological sites bear testimony to the occupation of the mountain by Maori and the mountain remains a focal point for the residents of the suburb. In 1986, a road was built to drive up the summit and at the same time in order to protect the cone, 27 hectares of the Mt Eden domain was set aside as crown land.

The climate, plenty of food, fertile volcanic soil and essay access to the harbours was a great advantage in Mt Eden for the Maoris. As early as 1200, Chief Titahi taught the people how to develop terraced gardens on the side of the mountain. He also taught them how to make stone walls to provide protection and defensive against the enemy. In the 1700s, when the Europeans came to the area, they cleared the land of the scoria rocks and made fences with them to distinguish the property boundaries. During the 1840s, the land was divided into small farms and then most of the land was subdivided into large suburban plots in 1870 and the principal roads were formed by the Crown. The first school, Mt Eden Normal was opened in 1877 on the corner of Mt Eden and Valley Road.

The development of Auckland was dependent on the availability of land, transport, and the desire of the middle class to move out of the  crowded inner city. The population of Auckland had increased by around 25% from 1874 to 1881. However, more dramatic increases were soon followed with the population of Auckland Borough doubling from 1881 to reach 33,161 people in 1886.

At the height of development around this time, these centers provided most of the everyday services, supplies, and entertainment needed by the surrounding suburb. The shopping precincts located on the earliest roads in the area, developed in  conjunction with the rapidly increasing population and improvements in public transport particularly the tramlines, with a significant period of built development in the 1920s and 1930s.

Estate agents touted the lifestyle benefits of living away from the city and the social prestige a suburban address enamored. Suburban life offered the fresh and open space that was missing from the small allotments and narrow lanes of the inner city. Allotments in subdivisions in Mt Eden, Morningside and Kingsland found buyers amongst settlers and speculators alike.

At the dawn of the twentieth-century, housing had largely replaced the farms, which had graced Mt Eden, Balmoral, and Sandringham. The increase in the residential population was accompanied by the development of roads, public transport, churches, schools, and early business and industry.

Volcanic stone was used extensively for early road building, as well as walls and fences and remains an important characteristic of the area. Allotment sizes demonstrate a pattern of more substantial suburban development and the area retains its early housing stock to a large degree, including large one and two-storied timber villas. The villa including its architecture, decoration, and surroundings form a lasting expression of the Victorian middle class in NZ, reflecting a love of home and comfort, spacious interiors, decoration, and display.

Waiheke Island

The original Māori name for Waiheke was apparently Te Motu-arai-roa, ‘the long sheltering island, but at the time, the first European visitors arrived it was known as Motu-Wai-Heke, ‘island of trickling waters’ — rendered as Motu Wy Hake by James Downie, master of the store ship HMS Coromandel, in his 1820 chart of the Tamaki Strait and the Coromandel coast.

During WWII, three gun emplacements were built at Stony Batter on the eastern edge to protect Allied shipping in Waitematā Harbour, in the fear that Japanese ships might reach New Zealand. This mirrored developments at North Head and Rangitoto Island. The guns were never fired in anger. The empty emplacements can be visited seven days a week. The extensive tunnels below them are currently closed. 

Waiheke was the first community in New Zealand to vote for a nuclear free zone and this action is said to have contributed to the national decision to become nuclear-free under David Lange’s government.

In 1999, Waiheke’s community board voted Waiheke as a “genetic engineering free zone,”  but this was a matter of principle rather than fact, as only national government controlled existence over genetically engineered foods and grains.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living organism on the planet, stretching over 2,600 kilometres in length and covering 344,400km2 of the ocean. It consists of 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands, and can be seen from space. It is home to 1,625 species of fish, 600 types of coral, 133 types of sharks and rays and 6 species of sea turtles. The reef as we know it today is built on the backs and bones of many millions of years of coral as the ocean levels have changed, islands have formed and land has settled. The formation, location and depth have changed as the continental shelf and sea level have changed and will likely continue to do as sea levels change and the earth’s crust shifts. The reef is always growing as it is a living organism and will continue to diversify and evolve as the years’ pass.

Our current reef began to form after the Last Glacial Maximum, or the peak of the Ice Age when glaciers were covering most of the earth and sea levels were at an all-time low. Most of the ocean’s water was occupied in glaciers all over the world, drastically altering both ocean and landscapes. It was at this time that reefs began to form around islands that were created by a submerged coastal plain, formed by sediments of an eroding mountain range – The Great Dividing Range, Australia’s largest. Reefs formed around these islands, but as the sea levels rose and the continental islands were submerged, they left behind coral formations which continued to grow. Those corals, which now sit alone out in the ocean, are what we know as The Great Barrier Reef. The reefs and cays that sit off the shores of Australia are the final evidence of long submerged mountains and islands on the former coast of Australia.

Auckland War Memorial Museum

Grade: A+


Christchurch Gondola: A cable car in Mount Cavendish in the Port Hills

International Arctic Centre

The Banks Peninsula was originally an island formed by two contiguous volcanic cones, but was joined to the mainland by sediments of the Waimakariri River. It was visited (1770) by Captain James Cook, who named it after Sir Joseph Banks, and it was surveyed by John Stokes (1850).

Grade: A-

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