In 2003, Paul Star, an Otago-based environmental historian, published a paper outlining developments in the field of environmental history in New Zealand, how it fits in to the international context, and some thoughts about the areas in which the field would most benefit from further research (“New Zealand Environmental History: A Question of Attitudes”).

It is a great little article, written in Star’s characteristic reader-friendly, jargon-free style, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in this field. (more…)

It seems both ironic, yet at the same time intensely appropriate to me that New Zealand’s first major environmental publication was written by a farmer – one of the many who helped to so dramatically transform the land into the landscape we take for granted today.

Tutira: the story of a New Zealand sheep station (1921) was written by William Herbert Guthrie-Smith about his sheep station in the Hawkes Bay [click here to view location]. In particular, he chronicled – with meticulous detail – the way he developed the land, and the implications that these “improvements” had for the ecological, hydrological and geological systems that had functioned within the landscape for thousands of years.

Tutira became an internationally acclaimed classic of ecological writing, and is generally seen as New Zealand’s first major environmentalist publication.  (more…)

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