John Johns

b.1924, d.1999

Tuatara, Stephens Island

  • Gift of Mrs Bobbie Johns, 2015
  • Gelatin silver print
  • 255 x 383mm
  • 2015/025
  • 1973
  • View on google maps

Tuatara means ‘spiny back’ in Māori. This unusual creature is found only in Aotearoa New Zealand. There are two species of tuatara, the last surviving members of an order of reptiles that existed alongside the dinosaurs 220 million years ago. That isn’t the only unique thing about the tuatara: they have a light-sensitive ‘third eye’ beneath the scales on the top of their head; its purpose is still not completely understood by scientists.

(Beasts, 2015)