September 2011


I came across this map in Mick Strack’s essay “Bounding the Land: Cadastral framework on the Taieri” in the recently published “Making Our Place”, and it intrigued me.

It is a map of the South Island, sketched by Edmund Halswell around 1841 from an unidentified Ngai Tahu source. The map shows the South Island so elongated and distorted in shape, that is almost unrecognisable. But is precisely this cartographic inaccuracy which reveals valuable information about how Maori interacted and viewed the land before European colonisation. (more…)

In a recent New Zealand Listener issue, garden columnist Xanthe White wrote about the fascinating history of the lawn, a ubiquitous feature of the New Zealand urban landscape.

White explains that the origins of the lawn can be found in agriculture; specifically the task of scything of fields for winter feed. The clearing of woods and undergrowth from around dwellings and settlements also kept these inner fields relatively free from snakes and other potentially harm-inflicting creatures lurking in long grass or in and around woodlands. (more…)

“Unless immediate steps are taken towards the conservation of large tracts of existing forests, and towards the re-planting” of forests “the climate, which is naturally dry, will become, year by year, more dry, until at length pastoral and agricultural pursuits … will become profitless, if not impossible.”

This was not written in 2008. Or 1988. Or even 1948. (more…)

The latest issue of online journal Environment & Nature in New Zealand is out, and can be accessed here.

CONTENTS:

1-23    ARTICLE: Amy Davis, ‘”For Beauty and Health” Nature and the environment in suburban Karori, Wellington’

24-54    ARTICLE: Lily Lee and Ruth Lam, ‘陈达枝 Chan Dah Chee  (1851 -1930): Pioneer Chinese Market Gardener and Auckland Businessman’

(more…)

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