We stopped for a few days in Auckland, New Zealand, to visit nieces and nephews, on our way to see our grandkids in Australia. Tiritiri Island was on my agenda.

As an isolated ecosystem, species have evolved in New Zealand almost independent of outside influences. It was essentially free of mammalarian predators, so flight was not a necessary protective measure and several species lost their ability to fly. This worked well until the Maori arrived. The Maori eradicated several species and greatly reduced many of the rest. Then the Europeans arrived and they were even more efficient than the Maori. Many more species disappeared. Continue Reading »