Whether you're at the beach, in the bach, on the boat or by the barbecue, summer holiday fun hinges on knowing when conditions outside will be favourable and not-so-favourable for the activities you have in mind.
The mako shark is fast and fascinating. The shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus, has been recorded swimming at speeds of about 100km/h. It's the fastest of the world's shark species. Mako sharks are found in waters right around New Zealand. Only occasionally are they found close inshore.
A glow-in-the-dark limpet, a fierce-looking 'toe-biter' (which isn't fierce at all and would scarper at first sniff of your toe) and a mayfly that lacks a functioning mouth (and, not-surprisingly, lives as an adult for only a few days) are just some of the weird and wonderful critters to be found in New Zealand's 425,000 kilometres of streams and rivers.
When someone says "paua fritter" they are usually referring to something made from blackfoot paua. The blackfoot paua (Haliotis iris) species is endemic to New Zealand and found throughout the country. It is most abundant on shallow reefs.
When you are at the beach or harbours this summer, don't be surprised if you see sea squirts - marine animals we commonly see attached to rocks and wharf piles that have two siphons on the top of their bodies, one to draw in water and the other to expel it. When disturbed, sea squirts contract their siphons, expelling streams of water—hence their name.