A skimming station on the corner of Roberts’s Line and the Bunnythorpe-Kairanga Road, Manawatu. This photograph shows the long line of carts which was a typical sight at a skimming station in the early years of that century. Source: Palmerston North City Library.

Reading a 1977 paper reviewing farming in the Manawatu, by soil scientist J. Cowie and farming advisor W. Osborn, I was interested to read the following passage:

Dairy farming no longer predominates [in the Manawatu] as it has lost a great number of units in recent years. Twenty-six small dairy companies existed in the billycan and horse and cart days. (more…)

I have been reading Kenneth B. Cumberland’s “Landmarks” (1981), a story of the human transformation of New Zealand. One of the many characters who makes his appearance in this story is Chew Chong, a pigtailed pedlar who had come to Otago, New Zealand in 1867, during the gold boom. He eventually made his way up to Taranaki, where a fledgling dairy industry was becoming established. (more…)

Nowhere tells more starkly of the duality in our relationship towards the natural environment than Taranaki: the dichotomy of the “productive” and “scenic” landscape.

Taranaki is known throughout the world for the almost perfectly conical mountain which rises up through what are otherwise the flattest of plains. This mountain and the region was made famous by its being used as the backdrop for the film, “The Last Samurai”. Indeed, New Zealand was chosen to shoot the movie due to the mountain’s remarkable resemblance to Japan’s Mount Fuji – also a perfectly conical mountain that stands alone on the plains of central Japan. (more…)

Having recently read Beyond the Scene: landscape and identity in Aotearoa New Zealand one particular anecdote stood out for me (see also: Landscape and identity in NZ). This anecdote is important for two reasons: one, it provides a salutary reminder that destruction of our indigenous forest cannot simply be relegated to a long-passed and unenlightened chapter of our history – in fact, it has continued into recent decades. But the anecdote also has a more uplifting lesson, reminding us of the old adage that out of adversity arises opportunity: that the most devastating circumstances, can, with the right mix of leadership, commitment and persistence, give rise to an outcome that brings benefits that in time outweigh the initial loss. (more…)

I have just finished reading The Water Thieves by Sam Mahon. Sam Mahon is an artist who lives in renovated flour mill in Waikari, North Canterbury. He was recently in the news for his bust of Environment Minister Nick Smith, made entirely of cow dung. The bust was created as part of a campaign to stop the Hurunui River from being dammed for irrigation. (more…)

The earlier article A short history of regional government in NZ contained musings about whether there might be clues in the history of regional government in New Zealand that help explain the predicament that Environment Canterbury (ECan) now finds itself in. The article failed to answer this question, but promised a future article to explore this question further. An examination of our more recent history reveals that this – at least in part, may be a product of an increasingly challenging environmental landscape outgrowing the RMA model of regional council focused on end-of-pipe, point-source pollution. (more…)

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 380 other followers