The Manawatu River was a defining feature of the Manawatu Region, which was the subject of my recently published book, Ravaged Beauty. This has led me to research the environmental history of our rivers more broadly. Continue reading
Some may argue that too often rivers are treated like drains even today, but a century and a half ago, rivers were drains under this country’s law.
Under the Public Works Act 1876, “drain” was defined to include both artificial channels and “every natural watercourse, stream, and river not navigable” (s. 165). Under the Mines Act, certain rivers could be proclaimed “sludge channels”, as was the case with the Waihou and Ohinemuri Rivers in Waikato. Continue reading