As Brian Parkinson points out in the foreword to “Butterflies and Moths of New Zealand“, butterflies tend to be more highly regarded than moths because “Butterflies are those charming ethereal creatures you see wafting by on bright sunny days. On the other hand, moths, being mostly nocturnal, are seldom seen. If you do happen to meet up with them, they are usually those little grey or brown jobs that end up in your soup when you are sitting around a campfire, or the thing that’s chewed holes in your best gear when you get it out for that special occasion“.
And of all the butterflies in New Zealand, the Monarch is probably the most highly regarded of all. It is a big beautiful orange, flies slowly, likes city gardens, and doesn’t eat your cabbages. So the Monarch is an excellent ambassador for getting people interested.
Once you have fallen in love with the Monarch, and learn more about them, it is our hope that this interest will extend out to the other butterfly species of New Zealand, most of which are in far more danger than the Monarch.
You might even find yourself seeing moths in a new light. After all, although there are some minor differences between moths and butterflies, both belong to the order of Lepidoptera. Many moths are beautiful in their own right.