Will we ever see another “Manapouri”?

Lake Manapouri NZ Herald

Has New Zealand failed its environment? is the question asked by Jamie Morton, Science Reporter at the New Zealand Herald, in his piece published yesterday about Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand (Canterbury University Press) [read article here].

In his interview, one of the questions Jamie asked me was:

‘Looking into the near future, what do you think will be the big issues of contention? Is there anything on the horizon that might prove New Zealand’s next Manapouri?’ Continue reading

Top envirohistory NZ posts of all time

Young Maori girl at Te Ariki Pa. Shows her standing alongside a vegetable garden and a whare. Photograph taken in the 1880s by the Burton Brothers.
Young Maori girl at Te Ariki Pa, near Lake Tarawera, Bay of Plenty. Shows her standing alongside a vegetable garden and a whare. Photograph taken in the 1880s by the Burton Brothers. Not to be reproduced without prior permission from Alexander Turnbull Library ref. 1/2-004619-F.

Long-time envirohistory NZ followers may remember I had a fairly regular post introducing the most popular posts for the quarter or year. It’s been a while since I have done this so I thought as a celebration of envirohistory NZ’s ‘rebirth’, I would present the top 5 posts of ALL TIME (well, since 2009). So here they are:

The Scandinavian settlers of the Manawatu (first published January 2010)

Maori gardening in pre-European New Zealand ((first published June 2010)

Earthquake reveals the forgotten streams of Christchurch (first published May 2011)

Opiki Toll Bridge: graceful relic of a thriving flax industry (first published May 2011)

Waitangi Park – an urban wetland recreated (first published December 2010)

‘Reader’ reaction to “Beyond Manapouri”

“Beyond Manapouri” has arrived, and looks amazing!

… but that’s just my opinion, so I canvassed a number of individuals in my community to gauge their reaction to the book.

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Continue reading

envirohistory NZ is born again!

seedlingLong-time envirohistory NZ followers may remember that back in mid-2016, I decided to ‘retire’ envirohistory NZ and transition to a new website and blog with a slightly different focus (see envirohistory NZ lives on! (but somewhere else)).  Since then, I have only blogged intermittently on envirohistory NZ, to mark big happenings, like the release of books. This move coincided more or less with some big life changes (good ones, I hasten to add!) (see Life changes). Continue reading

News Release: Tackling reasons for New Zealand’s failure to address our biggest environmental issues

Beyond Manapouri coverA new book, Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand,traces the history of environmental governance in Aotearoa New Zealand since the heady days of the 1969 Save Manapouri campaign and tackles the reasons for our failure to address our biggest environmental issues.

Dr Catherine Knight, an environmental historian, says her book – published by Canterbury University Press – suggests there are key cultural shifts New Zealanders need to make if real progress is to be made in the environmental sphere. Catherine draws on her own insights as a government ‘insider’ having worked at the coalface of environment policy for nine years.

“We’re on the cusp of significant shifts in our environment and our attitudes towards it – Continue reading

Are New Zealanders becoming more wasteful?

20 most wasteful countries in the world.pngEarlier this year it was revealed that New Zealand has become one of the worst in the world for the generation of waste. This is according to World Bank data, which ranks NZ has tenth worst of all countries surveyed for the generation of urban waster per capita (see map above). Continue reading

Life changes

tree houseAbout three weeks ago my family and I made a very big life change. We moved from comfortable, convenient, leafy suburbia on the Kapiti Coast to a 7-acre block of land in rural Manawatu. This involved moving ourselves out of our 213 m2 4-bedroom, double-garaged home into a garage-less house of exactly half that size.

There is a very good reason for us doing this: it wasn’t the plan.

Continue reading

Did you know moreporks mewed?

baby morepork.jpegI woke up with the rain gurgling down the guttering at 5:30am this morning, made myself my customary morning coffee and sat down to do some work before the morning’s quiet was broken by the duvet-bearing preschooler sharing her first thoughts of the day with me. As I typed, my muted keyboard percussion was accompanied by a “mew mew mew” sound* from the lanky poplars that line our top paddock.

This curious mewing is the less well known call of the morepork (ruru) – the onomatopoeic “more-pork” call being the one we associate with them. (In fact, until only a week or so back I had no idea what creature this mystery call belonged to.) I am not sure what the mewing call means. I suppose, just like humans, owls would get bored with just saying the same thing over and over again (as a mother of young children, I can empathise completely), so perhaps it is just for variety – who knows? (Perhaps someone does – if so, please be in touch.)

 In any case, as far as morning calls go, I think this is up there with the best.

*You can listen here (on the excellent NZbirdsonline site) to the various morepork calls.

Image: Newly fledged young. Wellington, January 2009. Image © Peter Reese by Peter Reese

[Originally published on http://www.catherineknight.nz, 29 April 2017]