My Treasures: Lloyd Esler

Author, teacher, historian and naturalist Lloyd Esler, of Invercargill, with a moa bone he found in the New River Estuary.

HISTORIAN, author, teacher, ornithologist, botanist, taxidermist and local body councillor Lloyd Esler lives in the native bush in Otatara, close to Invercargill.

He is always keen to combine his love of the outdoors with others and the opportunity to share some of his extensive knowledge. He shares some of his many treasures which hold special significance for him.

Space junk: A 13.6kg (30lb) titanium alloy ball from a Russian probe landed on the Canterbury Plains in 1972. The probe was on a mission to Venus when it failed. I take it around schools when I teach. It’s been in space, orbited the Earth and crashed back to Earth. It would have landed red-hot in a paddock and sizzled.

Land Birds of New Zealand card collector’s book: A coloured card of an endemic bird was given “free” in every packet of Gregg’s jellies. I was aged 5 and this probably spurred an interest in ornithology for me. It was a wonderful series of cards. We ate a lot of jelly… and only Greggs. For my 5th birthday, I was allowed to open two jellies, and they had the two cards which were missing from my collection had stuck the cards in the packets.

Souvenirs of China: My great aunt Annie Harrison had been a missionary in China at the time of the Boxer crisis (1900). She had been hiding and was saved from discovery by a spider’s web across the door, fooling the searching “rebels” into thinking the room was unoccupied. She bought these slippers and hand embroidered cap from China.

Moa bone: I often pick up bits of moa bone in the [nearby] New River Estuary mud flats. I found this one last year. It is from a medium-sized moa (about 1.5m high) and could be between hundreds to thousands of years old. It is another interesting object to handle, from the biggest bird that lived on Earth.

Swimming certificate: This is the sole record of any sporting achievement I ever achieved in the sporting arena 100 yards in the school pool.

Decimal currency certificate: July 10, 1967, was decimal currency changeover when the New Zealand currency changed from pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents.Running Sneakers30 Winter Outfit Ideas to Kill It in 2020 – Fashion Inspiration and Discovery