Matthew Tso15:54, Feb 07 2020
As the shoreline comes into focus from the cabin of the Charmaine Karol I can see green bush cascading downwards from a straw-coloured tabletop to meet the beach.
It is entirely appropriate that a tiny symphony has been playing John Williams' magnificent theme from Jurassic Park inside my head on our approach to Mana Island.
Like the movie's fictional Isla Nubar, Mana is a man-made glimpse into the past. This becomes apparent as soon as I disembark.
A few steps from the boat I stop to adjust my grip on a camera bag I've carried ashore when I look down to see an inky black skink wriggle out from between the rocks beneath my boot. "Must be more careful," I think.
We are here to witness the arrival of 18 critically endangered shore plovers, and are met by Department of Conservation staff and a party from Ngati Toa who perform a waiata to welcome the birds ashore.