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North & South December 2020

North & South is New Zealand’s premier monthly current affairs and lifestyle magazine, specialising in long-form investigative journalism, delivered by award-winning writers and photographers. North & South also showcases New Zealand ingenuity and creativity, explores the country and profiles its people. It is a touchstone of New Zealand life.

New Zealand
North and South Media Ltd
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
from the editor

Why do people read magazines? That might sound like the semi-delirious philosophising of an editor as publication deadline nears, which it almost certainly is. But it also seems like an important question to ask in a year when New Zealand lost 18 of its most beloved publications during a 10-minute company-wide Zoom call. There are many answers, of course: people read magazines to be informed, to relax on a weekend afternoon or ease the tedium of a commute, to decorate their coffee tables. But there are plenty of ways to do all of the above. What makes magazines like this one truly special is that they help you see the world from a perspective other than your own. A writer spends weeks or months with the subject of a story, bringing a…

3 min
featured contributors

Victoria Birkinshaw A Wellington-based photographer, Victoria ventured north for two very different shoots in this edition. After being kept very much on the exterior of Auckland’s managed-isolation facilities by security fences and soldiers (“Great Escapes”), it was a joy for her to be welcomed into the heart of the Paihia community by Becky Papera, who was interviewed by Donna Chisholm. Donna Chisholm Donna wrote her first article for North & South 11 years ago. It chronicled 25 years of test tube babies, including an exclusive interview with New Zealand’s first, Amelia Bell, whose identity had never previously been revealed. She will continue to write deeply reported stories for North & South — in this issue, you’ll find her fascinating piece about the groundbreaking science being done at Auckland’s Centre for Brain Research. Damian Christie The…

3 min
four corners

MT TARANAKI Odd Birds On a recent Thursday afternoon, a crowd of about 30 people gathered at the North Egmont Visitor Centre to witness the world’s first-ever meeting of a kiwi and a drone. The kiwi was an 11-year-old male, raised in Ōtorohanga and affectionately called Koko. The drone, much younger and made in China, went by the name of DJI Matrice 600 Pro. Koko carried a transmitter. DJI Matrice 600 Pro carried telemetric equipment that was meant to monitor birds. But when the drone was released, it became quickly obscured behind some very large trees. The signal went dead. The meeting was set up by the Taranaki Kiwi Trust, an organisation committed to the survival of the local kiwi population. Some members been uneasy when the idea first came up. They thought…

8 min
no comment

No one is easy to find at Act’s election-night party. Wristbands have been allocated to distinguish party members from media, but otherwise it’s hard to tell the distinguished guests from the candidates from the regular patrons of the bar next door. I’m looking for one of Act’s brand-new MPs: Karen Chhour, a 39-year-old self-employed mother from the North Shore. “Everything I’ve learned in life has been through teaching myself,” Chhour says. Few people expected Act to win 10 seats in Parliament, and so some of its new parliamentarians now face a rapid transition from random citizen to known decision-maker. During an ad break in the election coverage, which is playing on two large projector screens, somebody taps me on the shoulder. It’s Chhour. “I found you!” She’s grinning and shouting at me…

5 min
bad trip

When Jakob Kraus, Hans Börner and Sophia Ulbrich embarked on their round-the-world sailing trip in August 2017, they didn’t intend to conclude their journey in an Auckland prison. But then again, the pandemic has upended millions of lives in all sorts of ways, big and small. This is the story of three German sailors who went looking for an adventure and got more than they bargained for. Jakob Kraus, short-cropped hair, 30, broad shoulders underneath a navy-blue sweater, is a boat builder in Berlin; his girlfriend Sophia Ulbrich, 27, curly blonde hair, works as a graphic designer. When we meet in mid-October in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood, their relief is palpable: to have made it back to Germany. It all began several years ago, when a protracted bronchitis gave their friend Hans Börner,…

3 min
the mobile home

The old house had been seeking a new home for a while. It had been sitting opposite the cathedral on Vivian Street in New Plymouth for as long as anyone could remember. It had weathered quakes, hurricanes and the Great Depression. But now, it was time to leave town for good. On the night of Tuesday, 8 September, a team of seven movers lifted the old house with hydraulic jacks and put it on a trailer. A developer had acquired the land the old house was built on, wanting to construct a no-nonsense office block. But the old house — a two-storey bungalow, California-style, with a double-pitched roof — sat stubbornly in the way. The developer put it up for sale. Asking price: none. A New Plymouth couple, Adam and Nicola…