New Zealand History

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Tramping in New Zealand, a History

September 5th, 2013

Seminar presented by historians Chris Maclean and Shaun Barnett at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage on 4 September 2013.  Introduced by Jock Phillips

New Zealand offers some of finest tramping anywhere with some of the most striking scenery on the planet, arguably the best hut and track network in the world, a small population, no dangerous wild animals, poisonous snakes or toxic spiders, good access, 14 national parks, 19 forest parks, 10 conservation parks, and no entry fees. Around these attributes a uniquely New Zealand culture of tramping has developed, reflecting broader national characteristics. In this presentation we will talk about the history of tramping in New Zealand, and also about the process of researching and writing a book on the subject.

Shaun Barnett began tramping as a teenager in Hawke's Bay during the 1980s and has since tramped extensively around New Zealand and also overseas. In 1996, he became a full-time outdoors writer and photographer. He edited Wilderness magazine for three years, has authored several tramping guidebooks, and served on the Federated Mountain Clubs executive for nearly 10 years. Shaun's most recent book, Shelter from the Storm, The Story of New Zealand's Backcountry Huts, co-authored with Rob Brown and Geoff Spearpoint, is a finalist at this year's NZ Post Book Awards.

Chris Maclean graduated from Victoria University with a B.A. in History, and has since made a career out of writing historical books. His book Tararua, highlighted the history of a previously underrated mountain range, while his subsequent book Kapiti won a Montana Book Award in 2000. A keen tramper and sea kayaker, Chris has wide experience of the New Zealand outdoors, and his most recent book Stag Spooner, Wild Man from the Bush, is also a finalist at this year's NZ Post Book Awards.

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