As anticipated, the top posts for the last quarter have been Christchurch-related, with Earthquake reveals the forgotten streams of Christchurch and Christchurch: a city haunted by its environmental past? being overwhelmingly the most popular (864 and 627 views respectively). Next was the post Waitangi Park – an urban wetland recreated, about the recently (re-)created wetland in central Wellington (376 hits). (more…)

As explored in the earlier post Christchurch – a city haunted by its environmental past, Christchurch’s environmental history had serious – arguably fatal – implications in the February earthquake. As the post discussed, this related especially to the fact that much of what is now a city was once a vast swamp, comprised not only of the two rivers that still run through the city (the Avon and Heathcote), but also numerous other streams that fed an extensive wetland system. (more…)

Last week, I was privileged enough to attend the Rotorua Lakes Symposium in Rotorua City. This symposium, themed “Fix a lake and grow a city”, brought together scientists, politicians, natural resource managers, landscape architects, academics, tangata whenua, business people and many others to explore ways in which the lakes of Rotorua can be restored to create wealth and wellbeing in the Rotorua district. (more…)

Once again, I find myself writing about a place that I hold great affection for, after it has been devastated by a natural disaster [see also: Christchurch - a city haunted by its environmental past].  This time the north-east of Japan, where a tsunami (tidal wave) of up to 10 metres high struck the eastern coast, following the magnitude 8.9 earthquake of 11 March. (more…)

It is with both horror and immeasurable sadness that I contemplate the tragic consequences of last Tuesday’s massive earthquake on the city that I lived in for 8 years, and which I still regard with immense affection. I cannot even begin to imagine how life must be like for its residents today, especially those who have friends or family who have perished. (more…)

Archaeological evidence shows that Maori occupied the south-east coast of the North Island, including Palliser Bay, by the 14th century. Research in the 1970s by Foss and Helen Leach of Otago University showed that people lived in small settlements at stream and river mouths. The people were both gardeners and hunters and gatherers, reliant on what they could take from the forest, rivers, streams, coastal lagoons and the sea – the main sources of food were likely to have been small birds, fish, seals and kūmara (sweet potato). There is evidence of about 300 people in six separate communities on the eastern side of the Palliser Bay. Yet by the 1600s these settlements had gone. (more…)

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