By David Carnegie Young
All my life I had driven through the village, the great iron gates to its cemetery and spreading oaks speaking of a larger, lost past. From the 1950s I’d watched the gradual decline of a place that, long before my life, had been so much more. There was the smithy, whose hanging door I recall one day remained shut, the shops with their arthritic verandas, old houses that became hidden behind brambles as they staggered under the weight of vegetation and age. The village’s human edges greened and frayed until it was little more than a hamlet. Yet its centre survived.
There was still the Ben Nevis pub, Harry Stirling’s old garage, two churches, a graveyard on the hill and a broken necklace of 1860s wayside architecture where wayfarers might stop for a pie or sandwich and even a browse. Continue reading
Though I am not entirely sure what it is, there is something about the landscape south of Wanganui that I find quite alluring: perhaps the sculpted curves of the hilly terrain, which is largely pasture, but scattered with clusters of indigenous bush. My attraction to this landscape was explored in another post Drama and history in a southern Wanganui farmscape. This photo was taken just south of the southern Wanganui town of Turakina [click here to view location]. Continue reading
Did Scottish and Irish settlers bring particular land management practices with them to New Zealand? In particular, did the Scottish have a strong conservation ethic which made them “greener” than their fellow-settlers, as is sometimes claimed? These were some of the questions addressed by Professor Tom Brooking (University of Otago) at a conference in Aberdeen which explored the environmental histories of Scottish and Irish migrants to countries of the “New World” such as New Zealand, Australia and Canada.
At the conference, United Kingdom based Environmental Historian Dr Jan Oosthoek interviewed Prof. Brooking and asked him about the environmental practices of Irish and Scottish settlers in New Zealand. He also asked him to talk about what makes New Zealand’s environmental history unusual and unique.
Photo: Scottish-born politician, explorer and conservationist, Sir Thomas McKenzie (standing, centre) with party in Southland, between 1908-14. McKenzie was instrumental in making Fiordland a national park and was a founding member of the Forest & Bird Society. Used with permission from Alexander Turnbull Library ref PA1-0-307-42.
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