Nominated Best Feature Writing
Voyager Media Awards 2022
Where do young sea creatures spend their first weeks? What’s at the root of oceanic food chains? Kelp forests are to Aotearoa what coral reefs are to other marine ecosystems. Or they used to be.
Last century, southern right whales were hunted until there were none left—none that we could find. A small group of these whales, also called tohorā, hid from the harpoon. Deep in the subantarctic, the survivors birthed and nursed their young. Now, tohorā are returning to the coasts of New Zealand. Are we ready for them?
Out there in forest reserves, down remote back roads and tucked away in corners of small towns hide giant tōtara, mataī and rimu. A tiny group of obsessive people, guided by old records and half-remembered stories, regularly hit the road in search of these monsters. Their aim: to bag a champion tree, one whose size, age and majesty will put it at the top of New Zealand’s notable tree register.