Join the Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust Sale on May 1, 2021
What do you remember about butterflies from your childhood?
In many countries, butterflies have a special cultural significance.
For example, every November, when the Monarch butterfly arrives in Mexico at their overwintering sites, the local people decorate graves of their family members, believing that the returning butterflies are the souls of their loved ones.
Symbol of beauty and elegance
Some people recall the Tiger butterfly from China. Butterflies in China symbolise beauty, elegance and long life. Many people from India mention the common grass yellow butterfly, and perhaps you saw the young actor sitting surrounded by these butterflies in the film ‘Lion.’
A stunning butterfly known as the ‘Purple Emperor’ is the national butterfly of Japan.
In Hinduism, it is believed that all souls reincarnate, take one body and then another, evolving through experience over long periods of time. Like the caterpillar’s metamorphosis into the butterfly, death does not end our existence but frees us to pursue an even greater development.
Yes, butterflies can remind you of home and your childhood.
The Butterfly Habitat
The woman behind the Butterfly Habitat in the Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve would like to know more about butterflies from your part of the world.
The Butterfly Habitat was created so that people can see New Zealand butterflies in all stages, enjoy the beautiful flowers, the colourful caterpillars and learn a little about the conditions that butterflies and moths like.
It is a work in progress, ably assisted by members of the community and students from Auckland International College.
On a hot, sunny day close your eyes and listen to the birdsong, and the call of the cicadas. Smell the delicious perfume from some of the flowering plants: Honeysuckle, Buddleia and Joe Pye weed to name a few. It is sheltered by the bush so you’re out of the wind and you can usually find a spot in the shade… or the Sun.
About Monarch Butterflies
Monarch butterflies only lay eggs on swan plants, plants that are named because the seed pods or fruit resemble the shape of a swan. You might see the seed being dispersed on the wind attached to the silk that fills the seed pods. Some children refer to them as “fairies.”
You can watch monarch caterpillars, in their yellow, black and white striped pyjamas, as they munch away at a swan plant leaf. Or watch the little chaffinches eating the seeds of the cosmos flowers.
The park is a place of peace and reflection and spiritual rejuvenation.
The habitat is easy to find. Go to the tennis club carpark in Whitney Street, then walk along beside the tennis courts. Follow the level, sealed pathway and just around the corner, you will see an interpretive sign with information about the habitat.
While you enjoy the space please keep on the trails and of course, do not pick the flowers: they are there for the butterflies.
For further information, please see Facebook
Jacqui Knight (Facebook Picture) is the Founder and Secretary of Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust. She lives in Auckland. The above story has been sponsored by