I feel slightly embarrassed to admit this (and therefore perhaps shouldn’t), but I have only recently discovered the cartographic and other visual delights which lie between the sturdy covers of the New Zealand Historical Atlas, published in 1997.
Of course, I had seen it referenced many times in scholarship on New Zealand’s environmental history, but (and this is where my less than favourable encounters with high-school geography may be revealed), I had imagined a dusty old book of the traditional style maps that only a dyed-in-the-wool geographer or cartographer would get excited about. Continue reading
Today, the 30th April 2011, was a day of great triumph and celebration for many people in the Kapiti Coast community, with the official opening of 440 hectare Whareroa Farm Reserve, between Paraparaumu and Paekakari [click here to view location]. It is certainly not every day that a new recreational and nature reserve is opened to the public, and Whareroa Farm has only become such a reserve as a result of persistent lobbying by the local community and the ongoing work of one community-based organisation, the Whareroa Guardians Trust. Continue reading
This post reviews the top posts of the third quarter of 2010. Our favourite Californian again proves very popular, this quarter overtaking A tale of mining, which was very topical earlier in the year. The others in the top 5 traverse a diverse range of themes: Maori horticulture, a rare inner-city oasis of ancient forest, the surprisingly recent history of whaling in New Zealand, and eels – which have figured so large both in our streams, rivers and estuaries as well as our cultural history. Continue reading
Horticulture was integral to pre-European Maori culture. As Bee Dawson states in “A history of gardening in New Zealand”, the ability to produce reliable garden crops influenced the settlement patterns of early Maori. Thus, the warmer areas of the North Island, particularly those with fertile volcanic soils, supported much larger populations than those further south where both climate and terrain made horticulture less viable. The northern two-thirds of the North Island proved most rewarding in terms of horticultural production, while Banks Peninsula in the South Island marked the southern limit of Maori horticulture. Continue reading
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