When is a road a “line”? The curious case of Kairanga County

In keeping with the roading theme [see the last post], I have just finished reading The Line of the Road by M.H. Holcroft, a history of the Manawatu County from 1876 to 1976, published in 1977.

The book was published to commemorate 100 years of the Manawatu County Council (as it was at the time). One of the themes which is reflected strongly both in the book and its title, is the importance of roads and roading (and bridges) in the development of the fledgling county – they were critical to the linking of communities, the distribution of goods, food and building and construction materials, and to get people to schools, hospitals and other facilities (where they existed). Continue reading

Manawatu history talk: Totara Reserve

Dr Catherine Knight will be presenting a talk on November 2nd about the history of Totara Reserve as part of this year’s Manawatu Local History Week [click here to download programme]. Entitled “Totara Reserve: a window into Manawatu’s environmental history“, the talk will explore how Totara Reserve was preserved initially for its timber, but within a few decades, when lowland forest elsewhere in the Manawatu had all but vanished, became a prized scenic and recreational reserve. By tracing the history of the reserve, we can better understand the changing attitudes and values of New Zealanders towards our natural heritage. Continue reading

Seminar: how can environmental history shape the future?

After a great session last week at University of Waikato, Hamilton, hosted by the History Department (see: How can environmental history shape the future?), Catherine will be doing the same talk at Massey in October. The Hamilton talk was attended by scholars of history (both faculty and students), ecologists, hydrologists, as well as environmental managers and practitioners, and stimulated some interesting discussion. Continue reading