The special March issue of Environment and Nature in New Zealand contains seven articles – all by graduates of Otago University’s history department (see also: In search of Arcadia?). As the editor’s introduction states, these essays represent the most concentrated research effort in relation to environmental history of any history department in the country, and are well worth a read.
When is a fence not a fence?
I have been reading The Life and Times of Sir James Wilson of Bulls, by L. J. Wild recently. James Wilson, an immigrant from Scotland, was a pioneering sheep farmer in the Rangitikei in the late 1800s.
Reading his diary entries from the days when he was in the early stages of developing of Ngaio Farm, just east of Bulls, it is clear that fencing was a major consideration when establishing a farm – and the types of fences common at that time would not necessarily be familiar to us today. Continue reading
Weeds – the great European invasion
As Bee Dawson relates in “A history of gardening in New Zealand”, when Europeans began to settle in earnest in New Zealand in the early to mid-19th century, they not only brought with them “productive” plants, but many other plants, which soon became invasive “weeds”. Continue reading