Burning New Zealand’s forests

Of all the photographs I have seen relating to New Zealand’s environmental history, this is one of the most powerful. It shows the beginnings of a bush burn off at Puketora Station on the East Coast of the North Island in the early 1900s. This fire destroyed the indigenous forest over 30,000 acres, to make way for farming (probably of sheep). Continue reading

What has become of the “great naturalists”?

I have been reading about the debate and discussion related to forest destruction and preservation in the latter half of the 19th century, and what strikes me most about this debate is the character of the men that took part in it. These were the likes of  William Travers (1819 – 1903, lawyer, politician, naturalist and explorer), Thomas Potts (1824 – 1888, politician and naturalist), Charles Heaphy (surveyor, artist, explorer, soldier, politician), Harry Ell (1862–1934, politician, soldier, conservationist) and Leonard Cockayne (1855 -1934, botanist). Continue reading