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New Zealand’s Rivers: can we learn from history?

May 21st, 2017

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The government recently announced a proposal to make more of our rivers ‘swimmable' by 2040 – it has attracted significant controversy, demonstrating the level of concern about the state of our rivers among ordinary New Zealanders. In this talk, Catherine Knight, author of New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history, will provide important context to this debate by exploring some of our complex – and often conflicted – history with rivers since humans first settled in Aotearoa New Zealand. She will argue that knowing our history is an important foundation to forging a better future, both in terms of our environment and our socioeconomic wellbeing.

Catherine is an environmental historian. New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history (Canterbury University Press, 2016) has been longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards 2017 and was selected as one of the Listener’s Best Books for 2016. Her previous book, Ravaged Beauty: An environmental history of the Manawatu (Dunmore Press, 2014), won the J.M. Sherrard major award for excellence in regional and local history, and Palmerston North Heritage Trust’s inaugural award for the best work of history relating to the Manawatu. Catherine is a policy and communications consultant and lives with her family on a small farmlet in the Manawatu, where they are restoring the totara forest.

Introduction by Chief Historian Neil Atkinson. Recorded at the National Library of New Zealand, 3 April 2017.

 

 

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