A couple of years back I was down in Christchurch, visiting a wildlife reserve (mostly to see the takahē there, to be honest, so this story clearly went to the right place) and a display about birds informed me that we used to have flamingos in New Zealand. Not any time recently, but millions of years ago when there used to be a lake at St Bathans in Central Otago. They dig up all sorts of fossils there now, and one of them was an ancient relative to the flamingo.
New Zealand is very much bird country, so I couldn’t help but wonder… what would it be like if the flamingo had survived? What change, if any, would it have made to our culture and conservation? “Pink” is that very hypothetical. It’s a fun little piece, and it’s going to be part of the series of essays on NZ ecology I’m due to put together later this year, when I’m down at Canterbury University as their writer in residence. Can’t wait!