Of all the essays in the recently published Maori and the Environment: Kaitiaki, reviewed in a previous post, the essay that left me with one of the strongest lasting impressions was the second chapter. This essay tells the story of a hapu’s attempts to exercise kaitiakitanga (environmental stewardship) over Hokio Stream and Lake Horowhenua, west of the Horowhenua township of Levin [click here to view map]. (more…)

The post on the history of pollution in the Manawatu River has been one of the most popular posts on this website. This post adds to that story with a history of Palmerston North’s sometimes beleaguered sewerage system.

In the 1870s, the early years of the township, there was no sewage network. Instead, households had “long-drops”, while hotels and boarding houses built cesspits to bury “nightsoil”. By 1877, the odour from these was becoming unbearable in some locations, and in 1879, the borough council prohibited the digging of open cesspits, instead creating a ten acre “sanitary reserve” for the burial of nightsoil and household refuse.

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