Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hitty Meeting - August 2012

Holly has shown Yasmin her project about New Zealand sea lions that she has done. Yasmin has asked her to be the speaker at today’s meeting.   Holly’s mother made Holly a Kimono dress which Holly has brought with her to Kowhai Corner when she came here to live.  Yasmin has asked her to wear her Kimono to the morning meeting for a Japanese themed meeting. The Hitty girls will sit on cushions and have sushi for lunch.

Holly reads her notes about the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri) or whakahao who lives only in New Zealand. The New Zealand sea lion is sadly listed as nationally critical. The success of this ‘at risk’ species is dependent on helping hands for support to thrive.


The New Zealand sea lion breeds mainly in New Zealand’s Sub-Antarctic islands, however a slow return to the mainland is now occurring.   A small number now breed on the Otago coast, where 45 pups were born between 1994 and 2010.  This intelligent mammal can also be found at Stewart Island.


Holly shows the girls her picture of a mother sea lion sniffing her pup for recognition before taking her for feeding. Females give birth to single pups every one or two years in December and January each year.   As the pups grow older, they travel up to 175 kilometres from the coast to feed, and dive to depths of up to 600 metres. Male sea lions are typically brown/black in colour and grow to 350-500 kilograms.  New Zealand sea lions are known for their blunt noses and short whiskers.  


Holly went for a holiday in January of this year with the Price family to Otago. They stopped along the coast for a picnic and watched the sea lions playing.  One was a baby, says Holly as she shows the girls the photo.

After her holiday Holly found information about the New Zealand sea lions and wrote her project.  The New Zealand Children’s Health stamps feature the New Zealand sea lions this year.  A New Zealand sea lion pup in the Sub-Antarctic Islands is the focus of a 70c stamp and the other 70c stamp shows the head of an inquisitive sea lion pup.  The $1.40 stamp features a sub-adult male on Stewart Island.  The three stamps were issued in August of this year.

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