Protest on the landscape – Wallaceville, Upper Hutt

This dilapidated shed, on Wallaceville Road, south of Upper Hutt [click here to view location], has now come to serve a purpose beyond its original one of a wool shed – a protest banner against 1080. While seen by many conservationists see it as a necessary evil in the battle against introduced pest species such as rats, possums and mustelids, the pesticide 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate) is probably one of the most hotly debated environmental issues in New Zealand today. It polarises communities, with groups such as hunters vehemently opposing its use. It has become a particularly contentious issue in the Upper Hutt, given its proximity to the Tararua National Park, where 1080 is used as part of the Department of Conservation’s pest control programme [click here to read newspaper article], and the recent death of a family dog after it ate a poisoned possum carcass [click here to read newspaper article].

The use of abandoned buildings or disused structures as platforms for political protest has a long history in New Zealand, and itself is an integral part of our landscape.

Photo top: A disused woolshed on Wallaceville Road. Above right: a small stand of beech trees in the fields just around the bend from the shed. (Photos: C. Knight).

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