A little while ago, I read a reference to the book Nature and the English Diaspora: Environment and History in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, by Thomas R. Dunlap, which was published back in 1999. I don’t have a copy of this book, and not many libraries hold it, so I was keen to find out what the reviews were at the time. However, I was not able to find one single review through my friend, the usually highly reliable Mr Google.
Luckily, I was able to ascertain that New Zealand environmental historian Paul Star had done a review of the book for the journal Australian Historical Studies in 2000, and he has kindly given me his permission to reproduce a version of it here. This review is written from the perspective of a New Zealand scholar of environmental history, so is particularly useful for Antipodeans. Continue reading →
Oil exploration in Taranaki has been in the news lately, with Greymouth Petroleum and international companies expressing strong interest in the oil reserves under Taranaki soils and sea-bed. Until recently I had assumed that oil exploration was a phenomenon of the 20th century – until a Taranaki resident informed me that it was being extracted around New Plymouth as early as the 1800s. Continue reading →
Episode 3 of the envirohistory NZpodcast series is now out. This episode explores three environmental histories – one local, one national and one international. The first story is of Wharemauku Stream, a small stream which runs through Kapiti, but which tells a story that extends beyond its geographical bounds. The second is former Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons’ review of the last 35 years and what shifts she has observed in New Zealanders’ attitudes towards the environment. The third story is of Canadian forester – Leon MacIntosh Ellis, who immigrated to New Zealand to take up the first Director of Forests position in the new colony, and shape forestry in this country for years to come.
New Zealand’s State Forest Service and the forest management policies it implemented were shaped by its first director, Canadian Leon MacIntosh Ellis. Ellis was a strong proponent of plantation forestry and one of his most noticeable legacies, still very apparent today, is the extensive plantation forests of the central North Island.
Ellis was born on 17 July 1887 in Meaford, Ontario, Canada. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in forestry from the University of Toronto in 1911. In 1919 he was interviewed for the Director of Forests position in New Zealand’s newly created Forestry Department, and arrived to take up the position the following year. Continue reading →
Did Scottish and Irish settlers bring particular land management practices with them to New Zealand? In particular, did the Scottish have a strong conservation ethic which made them “greener” than their fellow-settlers, as is sometimes claimed? These were some of the questions addressed by Professor Tom Brooking (University of Otago) at a conference in Aberdeen which explored the environmental histories of Scottish and Irish migrants to countries of the “New World” such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
At the conference, United Kingdom based Environmental Historian Dr Jan Oosthoek interviewed Prof. Brooking and asked him about the environmental practices of Irish and Scottish settlers in New Zealand. He also asked him to talk about what makes New Zealand’s environmental history unusual and unique.
Photo: Scottish-born politician, explorer and conservationist, Sir Thomas McKenzie (standing, centre) with party in Southland, between 1908-14. McKenzie was instrumental in making Fiordland a national park and was a founding member of the Forest & Bird Society. Used with permission from Alexander Turnbull Library ref PA1-0-307-42.