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Making a New Land: Enviromental Histories of New Zealand

Making a New Land: Enviromental Histories of New Zealand

Автором Otago University Press

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Making a New Land: Enviromental Histories of New Zealand

Автором Otago University Press

Длина:
752 pages
10 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781927322536
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Making a New Land presents an interdisciplinary perspective on one of the most rapid and extensive transformations in human history: that which followed Maori and then European colonization of New Zealand's temperate islands. This is a new edition of Environmental Histories of New Zealand, first published in 2002, brimming with new content and fresh insights into the causes and nature of this transformation, and the new landscapes and places that it produced. Unusually among environmental histories, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of change, focusing on international as well as local contexts. Its 19 chapters are organized in five broadly chronological parts: Encounters, Colonising, Wild Places, Modernising, and Contemporary Perspectives. These are framed by an editorial introduction and a reflective epilogue. The book is well illustrated with photographs, maps, cartoons and other graphics.
Издатель:
Издано:
Jan 1, 2013
ISBN:
9781927322536
Формат:
Книге

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Making a New Land - Otago University Press

Published by Otago University Press

PO Box 56 / Level 1, 398 Cumberland Street

Dunedin, New Zealand

university.press@otago.ac.nz

www.otago.ac.nz/press

First published 2013

Text copyright © the contributors as named 2013

Volume copyright © Otago University Press 2013

The moral rights of the authors have been asserted.

ISBN 978-1-877578-52-6 (print)

ISBN 978-1-927322-53-6 (EPUB)

ISBN 978-1-927322-54-3 (Kindle)

A catalogue record for this book is available from the National Library of New Zealand. This book is copyright. Except for the purpose of fair review, no part may be stored or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including recording or storage in any information retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. No reproduction may be made, whether by photocopying or by any other means, unless a licence has been obtained from the publisher.

Front cover: William Sutton, Hills and Plains, Waikari 1956, oil on canvas.

89/143, 1956, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu

Publisher: Rachel Scott

Editor: Gillian Tewsley

Design/layout: Fiona Moffat

Index: Diane Lowther

Ebook conversion 2015 by meBooks

Contents

Front Cover

Title Page

Copyright

List of Figures and Tables

Contributors

Preface

1 Introduction

Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking

PART I ENCOUNTERS

2 A fragile plenty: pre-European Māori and the New Zealand environment

Atholl Anderson

3 Contesting resources: Māori, Pākehā and a tenurial revolution

Evelyn Stokes

4 Resource frontiers, environment and settler capitalism, 1769–1860

Jim McAloon

PART II COLONISING

5 Settlers transforming the open country

Robert Peden and Peter Holland

6 Mining the quarry

Terry Hearn

7 Destruction under the guise of improvement? The forest, 1840–1920

Graeme Wynn

PART III WILD PLACES

8 Children of the burnt bush: New Zealanders and the indigenous remnant, 1880–1930

Paul Star and Lynne Lochhead

9 The meanings of mountains

Eric Pawson

10 ‘Swamps which might doubtless Easily be drained’: swamp drainage and its impact on the indigenous

Geoff Park

PART IV MODERNISING

11 The grasslands revolution reconsidered

Tom Brooking and Vaughan Wood

12 An interventionist state: ‘wise use’ forestry and soil conservation

Michael Roche

13 On the edge: making urban places

Eric Pawson

14 The empire of the rhododendron: reorienting New Zealand garden history

James Beattie

PART V PERSPECTIVES

15 Postcolonial environments

Katie Pickles

16 An updated history of New Zealand environmental law

Nicola Wheen

17 Ngāi Tahu and the ‘nature’ of Māori modernity

Michael J. Stevens

18 Mastering the land: mapping and metrologies in Aotearoa New Zealand

Andreas Aagaard Christensen

19 Epilogue

Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking

Notes

Glossary of Māori terms

Index

Back Cover

List of Figures and Tables

Figures

1.1 ‘Five Mile Ave, Forty Mile Bush’, c. 1875 19

1.2 A landscape of ‘improvement’, looking towards Akaroa, c. 1925 21

1.3 William Fox, House in Nelson, 1848, watercolour 24

1.4 A landscape of modernity, South Taranaki, c. 1964 29

2.1 Map of places and districts mentioned in the text 37

2.2 The distribution of Rafter Laboratory radiocarbon dates on rat bone 39

2.3 Windward and leeward provinces in New Zealand, showing Māori forts (pā) and moa-hunting sites 43

2.4 Distribution of forest and open country at approximately AD 1000 and AD 1800 49

2.5 A regionally differentiated ecological model of socioeconomic change in pre-European New Zealand 50

3.1 Pākehā encounter before 1840 55

3.2 Te Hiku o Te Ika: Pākehā land claims and mission stations, 1840 57

3.3 Te Hiku o Te Ika: exploitation of resources before 1840 58

3.4 Te Hiku o Te Ika: cultural relations, 1840 62

3.5 The extinguishment of native title 65

3.6 Alienation of Māori land in the North Island, 1860–1939 68

4.1 Map of New Zealand in the global economy, 1770–1840 73

4.2 Portrait of Governor Philip Gidley King (1758–1808) 74

4.3 Frederic Alonzo Carrington, ‘Plan of the Town and Part of the Settlement of New Plymouth, New Zealand, 1842’ 80

4.4 Map of Europeans and the south, 1843 83

5.1 Map showing the open country 90

5.2 Sheep in the holding yards at Shag Valley Station, North Otago, during the 1880s 95

5.3 Birch Hill Station at the head of the Tasman Valley in the late nineteenth century 96

5.4 Merino lambs being drafted on a high-country station during summer in the 1920s 100

5.5 A wagon laden with rabbit skins awaiting export from the Port of Dunedin in the 1920s 103

6.1 Goldfields and gold production, 1857–1921, by decade 107

6.2 Damage caused by silting, Waihou River, June 1907 111

6.3 Blue Spur hydraulic sluicing and elevating claim, Gabriel’s Gully, Otago 117

6.4 Map of coalfields and production, 1883–1920, by decade 119

7.1 Julius Geissler, Primeval Bush, 1919, pen 124

7.2 The structure of the New Zealand forest 125

7.3 Map of the forest, c. 1840 126

7.4 Bullock team and timber workers alongside a kauri tree, 1897 130

7.5 Map of the North Island forest, 1880–1910 131

7.6 Clearing new farms of trees under Mt Egmont, c. 1900 132

8.1 Map of protected areas, 1906–07, showing national parks and scenic reserves 142

8.2 Kennedy’s Bush, c. 1920 149

8.3 Plan of Tongariro National Park by Leonard Cockayne, 1908 151

8.4 Charles Blomfield, The Vaulted Aisles of Nature’s Cathedral, 1921, oil on canvas 157

9.1 Map of the mountain and hill areas of New Zealand 159

9.2 ‘To the Hermitage Mount Cook’, c. 1925 164

9.3 Lindis Pass, North Otago, 1926 165

9.4 Graph of alpine fatalities between 1889 and 1959 170

10.1 Excavating a drainage canal, Hauraki Plains, 1910 175

10.2 A plan of swamp drainage, Hauraki Plains, 1908 178

10.3 Hauraki Plains swamp drainage, 1911–12 180

10.4 A swamp plough at work on Mr A. Lusk’s farm, Oaonui, Taranaki, c. 1914–15 186

11.1 Graph of changes in the area of sown grassland and the numbers of stock units, 1861–2005 194

11.2 Advertisement: ‘Fertiliser helped us grow …’, 1977 199

11.3 Cover of the New Zealand Journal of Agriculture, July 1946, showing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 201

11.4 Cover of the New Zealand Journal of Agriculture, September 1946 202

11.5 Advertisement for Tordon Brushkiller, 1999 204

12.1 Map of state indigenous and exotic forests, 1930 212

12.2 The arrival of the first trainload of logs at Kawerau, site of the Tasman Pulp and Paper mill in 1955 216

12.3 Sketches of ‘Nature’s revenge’, 1939 219

12.4 ‘Giving wings to soil conservation’, 1955 222

12.5 ‘The land we have we must hold!’, advertisement, 1961 223

13.1 Evoking the modern. Cover of the city guide, Auckland: The Gateway to New Zealand, 1931 230

13.2 ‘Civilising’ the Waimakariri River since the 1860s: its changing courses and flood-control works 233

13.3 Map of Auckland suburban development, 1915–45 234

13.4 ‘Salubrious St Clair’: auction notice for suburban sections, 1913 236

13.5 ‘Timaru by the Sea’: promotional image from the 1930s 239

14.1 Map showing Cantonese networks of migration, information and plant exchange 242

14.2 Sketch of Horeke, 1840, pencil and ink 247

14.3 Alfred Ludlam’s House and Garden, 1850, watercolour 249

14.4 Unidentified Chinese man and Rev. Alexander Don outside a dwelling in Waikaia, c. 1900 252

14.5 Well-known market gardeners Ah Sam and Joe Quin with vegetables, in Roxburgh, 1903 253

14.6 Graph of the value of New Zealand exports of fungus, 1880–1920 256

15.1 ‘Mother Nature’, Al Nisbet cartoon, 2011 264

15.2 William Sutton, Hills and Plains, Waikari 1956, oil on canvas 267

15.3 Juliet Peter, Nor’west, 1939, linocut 268

15.4 The ‘New Napier’: Napier Carnival poster, 1933 272

15.5 The fallen statue of John Robert Godley, Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 24 February 2011 273

16.1 Map of the location of Lake Manapouri, showing the power scheme and tailrace tunnels 279

16.2 ‘The view stinks but it’s worth millions!’, Sid Scales cartoon, 1959 280

16.3 ‘Mastering the vast energy potential of the Clutha River’. Map of Scheme F, 1976 283

16.4 Government ministers kneel before the graven image of Aluminium, as the Minister of Energy offers a jug of Clutha water into the sacrificial sink, Sid Scales cartoon, 1980 284

16.5 Map of the Project Aqua proposal, showing the location of the canal and six power stations, alongside the Waitaki River 289

17.1 The organisational chart of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu 294

17.2 TRoNT’s 18 regional papatipu rūnanga 295

17.3 Map of places in and around Canterbury mentioned in the text 300

17.4 Map of places in Southland mentioned in the text 304

17.5 Kura-mātakitaki Stevens and his great-grandfather, Tiny Metzger, prepare pōhā using rimurapa from Omaui in advance of the 2012 tītī harvest 305

18.1 Surveyors cutting down the bush to make survey pegs, 1903 315

18.2 A hundred years of New Zealand map making 318

18.3 Key sequences in the production of geographical knowledge of New Zealand environments, 1800–2000 320

18.4 Recording New Zealand, 1930–2010 322

18.5 Production systems under siege in the Wairarapa district, 1959 323

18.6a Metrologies for decency, anno 1956 326

18.6b Normalising the produce: wool classers at work with New Zealand wool, Hornchurch, England, during World War I 326

19.1 ‘The height of happiness’, 1927, colour lithograph 331

19.2 Blasting tree stumps in Taranaki, c. 1900 334

Tables

5.1 Area (in acres) under cultivation, and sheep numbers, for Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Marlborough, Canterbury and Otago provinces 101

7.1 New Zealand sawmills: number, distribution, capacity and output, 1907 129

9.1 High ascents from The Hermitage, 1914/15 to 1938/39 168

Contributors

ATHOLL ANDERSON, CNZM, FAHA, FRSNZ, FSA, is Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University, where he was previously Professor of Prehistory and Director of the Centre for Archaeological Research. He has worked on the prehistory of human–environment relationships for 40 years in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, especially on human colonisation, the exploitation of maritime resources and avifaunal extinctions. He is the author of Prodigious Birds: Moas and Moahunting in Prehistoric New Zealand (1989) and The Welcome of Strangers: An Ethnohistory of Southern Maori, AD 1650–1850 (1998).

JAMES BEATTIE is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Waikato. He has published widely on world, British imperial, garden and environmental histories. His monograph Empire and Environmental Anxiety, 1800–1920: Health, Science, Art and Conservation in South Asia and Australasia (2011) presented new perspectives on British imperialism. Forthcoming co-edited and co-written books include Lan Yuan: A Garden of Distant Longing (2013); Networks of Nature in the British Empire (2014); and Climate, Science and History in Australasia (2014). His next major projects examine Chinese–New Zealand environmental connections, and Chinese art collecting.

TOM BROOKING is Professor of History at the University of Otago where he has supervised six PhDs in environmental history to completion. He also works in New Zealand agricultural and rural history as well as political history, the history of ideas, and the Scottish–New Zealand connection. His book with Eric Pawson, Seeds of Empire: The Transformation of the New Zealand Environment (2011), was based on research carried out under a Marsden grant. Currently he has a co-authored book on Scottish migration to New Zealand (also funded by Marsden) in press; and his biography of New Zealand’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Richard John Seddon, will appear shortly.

ANDREAS AAGAARD CHRISTENSEN has an MSc in Geography and Cultural Studies and a BA in Psychology from Roskilde University. He is a PhD Fellow at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Copenhagen University, Denmark. His research project is the study of land use culture among farmers in European and colonial agrarian landscapes and the effect of such subjectivities on the ecology of rural landscapes. His research interests include landscape ecology, cartography, GIScience, environmental history, environmental anthropology and rural planning.

TERRY HEARN received a PhD from the University of Otago for his thesis on resource policy and resource-use conflict in nineteenth and early twentieth-century New Zealand. He was a contributor to the New Zealand Historical Atlas (1997), and spent six years as the Historian of British Immigration in the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, where he co-authored Settlers: New Zealand Immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland 1840 to 1945 (2008, with Jock Phillips). Since 2001 he has worked as a consultant on claims lodged by Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi: he has contributed to nine major regional inquiries with a particular focus on land issues and the social and economic experience of Māori.

PETER HOLLAND was educated at the University of Canterbury and the Australian National University, and has worked in Canada, Kenya, New Zealand and South Africa. He was appointed Professor of Geography at the University of Otago in 1982, and has been Emeritus Professor since 2006. Trained as a biogeographer, his current research interests include environmental change during the early colonial period. His book Home in the Howling Wilderness: Settlers and Environment in Southern New Zealand was published in 2013. He is a past President of the New Zealand Geographical Society and was awarded the Society’s Distinguished New Zealand Geographer medal in 2008.

LYNNE LOCHHEAD received a PhD from Lincoln University in 1994 for her thesis, ‘Preserving the Brownies’ Portion: A History of Voluntary Nature Conservation Organisations in New Zealand, 1888–1935’. She lives in Christchurch and is currently involved in a long-term project to revegetate a section of Harts Creek and Birdlings Brook, in the Lake Ellesmere/Te Waihora catchment. She also works to conserve the heritage of built landscapes, something that has become all the more urgent in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes.

JIM McALOON taught history for many years at Lincoln University and since 2009 has been Associate Professor in History at Victoria University of Wellington. He has research interests on the borders of environmental and economic history and has published widely in the history of nineteenth-century New Zealand, including a regional history of Nelson (1997) and No Idle Rich (2002), a study of wealthy settlers in Canterbury and Otago. More recently he contributed a chapter on the relationship between British markets and New Zealand grasslands to Brooking and Pawson, Seeds of Empire (2011).

TIM NOLAN is the director of Blackant Mapping Solutions, a cartography and geographics company based in Christchurch. With a BSc and MSc in Geography from the University of Canterbury, he has a wide range of interests in geography and mapping, particularly in visualising historical landscapes. His maps have appeared in numerous publications, including the Historical Atlas of New Zealand (1997) and the Macmillan (NZ) World Atlas (2008). He is currently a member of the Committee of the New Zealand Cartographic Society.

GEOFF PARK was a Wellington-based ecologist with a tendency to history, in particular the effects of colonisation on the indigenous Pacific. He was the author of Ngā Uruora: The Groves of Life: Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape (1995). He was a Concept Leader at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and worked as a researcher for the Waitangi Tribunal on the flora and fauna claim (Wai 262). A collection of his work was published as Theatre Country: Essays on Landscape and Whenua (2006). He died in 2009.

ERIC PAWSON is Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury. He is a graduate of Hertford and Nuffield Colleges, Oxford. He chaired the advisory committee of the New Zealand Historical Atlas (1990–97), and is on the advisory committee for Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. He has worked with Tom Brooking on projects in environmental history since the late 1990s, including the first edition of Environmental Histories of New Zealand (2002). He received the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2007 and a National Tertiary Teaching Award in 2009, and was Managing Editor of the New Zealand Geographer (2004–11).

ROBERT PEDEN has a PhD (Otago) and MA (Canterbury) in History. He specialises in environmental/agricultural/settlement history. He spent 25 years working on sheep and cattle stations in the South Island high country before returning to university in 1999. He was awarded a Claude McCarthy Fellowship in 2009, which gave him the opportunity to write Making Sheep Country: Mt Peel Station and the Transformation of the Tussock Lands (2011). He has worked as a researcher/writer for Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand and for the Waitangi Tribunal. Currently he is working on a land history of the South Island high country.

KATIE PICKLES, BA (Canterbury), MA (UBC), PhD (McGill), is Associate Professor of History at the University of Canterbury. Her research interests are wide-ranging, but often concern the history of imperialism and colonialism. Themes of landscape, memory and colonial identity are important in her monograph Transnational Outrage: The Death and Commemoration of Edith Cavell (2007). She has written about the environmental history of Bottle Lake Forest in Christchurch, and is currently working on the theme of Antarctica in New Zealand’s imperial imagination for a volume that she is co-editing with Catharine Coleborne, titled New Zealand’s Empire? (2014).

MICHAEL ROCHE is Professor of Geography in the School of People, Environment and Planning at Massey University, Palmerston North. He completed his PhD at the University of Canterbury on forest policy and forest management in New Zealand. He has published two books on the New Zealand timber industry: History of Forestry (1990) and Land and Water: Water and Soil Conservation and Central Government in New Zealand, 1941–1988 (1994). He contributed several plates to the New Zealand Historical Atlas (1997) and more recently has written on colonial foresters and forestry in Australia and New Zealand.

PAUL STAR, MA (Cantab), MA PhD (Otago), was brought up in England. He moved to New Zealand in 1972 and worked for many years as a bookseller before returning to academic study in the 1990s. He lives rurally on the Otago Peninsula, near Dunedin. He was a postdoctoral fellow with the University of Otago’s History Department (2004–07) and is now an independent scholar specialising in New Zealand environmental history. He contributed the chapter on this topic to The New Oxford History of New Zealand (2009) and has published widely on related themes in local and international journals.

MICHAEL J. STEVENS is Lecturer in History at the University of Otago. He was born into a Kāi Tahu family that participates in the seasonal harvest of tītī/sooty shearwaters (‘muttonbirding’) from islands adjacent to Rakiura/Stewart Island, and was raised mainly in the port town of Bluff. This gives him a lived understanding of mahika kai activities, which compels much of his research. His PhD dissertation, for instance, examined the syncretic knowledge that underlays the tītī harvest. Some of this research has been reworked in academic journal articles. Building on this work, he has more recently begun to reconnect Māori history with maritime history.

EVELYN STOKES, DNZM, held a Personal Chair in Geography at the University of Waikato. Her research interests included historical geography in New Zealand and North America, Māori land and communities and Treaty of Waitangi issues. She served on a number of government committees, and from 1989 was a member of the New Zealand Geographic Board and of the Waitangi Tribunal, contributing to major reports such as that on the Muriwhenua Land Claim (1997). She also authored many of the Māori-focused plates in the New Zealand Historical Atlas (1997). She died in 2005.

NICOLA WHEEN has been a member of the Law Faculty at the University of Otago since 1989. She teaches public law, environmental law and international environmental law. She has co-edited two books with Janine Hayward (Politics, Otago University): The Waitangi Tribunal/Te Roopu Whakamana i te Tiriti o Waitangi (2004) and Treaty of Waitangi Settlements (2012). Much of her recent research has focused on the law around fishing-related mortality of marine mammals and seabirds, and other conservation law issues.

VAUGHAN WOOD has a BSc (Hons) and an MA from the University of Canterbury, and a PhD from the University of Otago. He is a former research fellow of the Geography Department, University of Canterbury, and a contracted report writer to the Waitangi Tribunal in the hearing of indigenous land claims. His main area of research is agricultural history and environmental modification in nineteenth-century New Zealand. He has published articles in the Journal of Historical Geography, Agricultural History and Environment and History, and he is writing a history of the Akaroa cocksfoot seed industry.

GRAEME WYNN, FRSC, is Professor of Geography in the University of British Columbia where he has also been Brenda and David McLean Chair in Canadian Studies (2011–13). He was co-editor of the Journal of Historical Geography (2006-12) and is also General Editor of the Nature|History|Society book series with UBC Press. He is widely published in Canadian historical geography and environmental history, and in 2012 was awarded the Massey Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He has maintained an active interest in New Zealand scholarship since he taught at the University of Canterbury in the 1970s.

Preface

THIS BOOK is a new edition of one that originally appeared in 2002 as Environmental Histories of New Zealand. It is republished under the fresh title of Making a New Land, first in recognition of its revision as a university-level text used widely in New Zealand and overseas, and second to extend its readership among a public keen to engage with good, historically informed writing on the environment. To this end we have assembled a team of over 20 good-humoured and patient contributors, all experts in their field. About a third of the chapters are new and the rest have been revised to reflect advances in knowledge over the last decade. There are two exceptions, Chapters 3 and 10: the authors of these chapters have since died, but their original contributions were highly regarded and not readily replaceable. These have been left unchanged, except for the addition of the paragraph of further reading that has been included in this edition for all chapters.

The book may be approached sequentially, as it is structured into five broad chronological sections; or it may be read thematically, dipping into those parts of interest to the reader. Whatever way it is used, Making a New Land is designed to provide an up-to-date, considered series of reflections about important themes in New Zealand’s environmental histories. The text is illustrated with about 90 figures, one third of which are new to this edition. We are grateful to all the repositories that have granted us permission to use their photographs and artworks, each of which is acknowledged in the captions. We greatly appreciate the talents and dedication of our cartographer, Tim Nolan, who has translated often sketchy ideas into clear maps and diagrams. We have also enjoyed the wholehearted support of Otago University Press in recreating the book for a new generation of readers. We would especially like to thank Wendy Harrex who, as publisher at the time, backed the initial idea; Gillian Tewsley for her careful attention to detail as editor; and Rachel Scott, the current publisher, who has steered the project through to fruition.

ERIC PAWSON AND TOM BROOKING

Christchurch and Dunedin, August 2013

1.

Introduction

Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking

AOTEAROA NEW ZEALAND holds a special place in global environmental history.¹ It is an isolated land of mountains, beaches, wetlands and forests. According to the foundation stories of its first colonists, the North Island was fished out of the southern ocean by the demigod Māui, while his waka, or canoe, became the South Island. The descendants of those colonists, the Māori, had named and claimed these as their own territories by the time the ‘large land, uplifted high’ was ‘discovered’ a few hundred years later by Europeans. In the stories of these newer colonists, named ‘Pākehā’ by their predecessors, New Zealand was first understood as a remnant of the great southern continent, which at that time was believed to be a necessary counterweight to the landmass of Eurasia. Later it came to be a fragment of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, cast adrift before the advent of mammals.² The Australian ecologist Tim Flannery refers to it as ‘a completely different experiment in evolution to the rest of the world’, showing ‘what the world might have looked like if mammals as well as dinosaurs had become extinct 65 million years ago, leaving the birds to inherit the globe’.³

The human experiments of making places for living in these islands are more recent than those conducted elsewhere, considered now to be seven to eight hundred years old at most. The effects of Māori hunting, fire and horticulture were extensive. But they were less dramatic than 200 years of Pākehā transformations, initiated as part of the European imperial drive to incorporate new territories into the capitalist world economy using the panoply of people, animals, plants and, less intentionally, pathogens. In turn, the consequences of such experiments for human livelihoods have had to be borne. There has been the hazardousness of rapid and sometimes extreme weather changes, and the risks from events such as earthquakes and floods. These result from the country’s location astride a tectonic plate boundary, with its mountains and ranges intercepting moisture-laden winds from the southern ocean and the subtropics. There have been contests for land between Māori and Pākehā, vigorous throughout the nineteenth century and not forgotten by Māori since, and environmental interventions resulting in resource destruction, soil erosion and the spread of unwanted, and costly, pests and weeds.

Relations between people and environments in New Zealand share many of the char­acteristics of such interactions elsewhere, when migrants arrive in new lands and seek to come to terms with what they find. But, consistent with geographic theories of place, both the context for these interactions and the manner in which they have intersected with this context and each other have produced very particular outcomes. As Joe Powell, the Australian historical geographer, has suggested, ‘the best environmental stories … recognise locational integrities in so far as they have a very definite resonance in [particular] national and regional contexts.’⁵ To this should be added cultural contexts, as there is not nor ever has been but one New Zealand. Rather there is a kaleidoscopic complex of Māori and Pākehā identities in place, and the tensions that go with this.⁶

The purpose of this book is to narrate the ways in which human–environment interactions in the places of Aotearoa New Zealand have been constructed. The Introduction situates the project in the context of current thinking and practice in environmental history. It also introduces the individual chapters and explains how they have been grouped so as to provide the reader with clear signposts for approaching them as a collection.

Making a new land

A recent definition of environmental history suggests that it is ‘a kind of history that seeks understanding of human beings as they have lived, worked and thought in relationship to the rest of nature through the changes wrought by time’.⁷ The breadth of this statement is an advantage: it opens a very broad canvas. In identifying the everyday matters of living, working and thinking, it focuses on the role of everyone as actors in environmental history, not merely the ‘leading figures’ approach of conventional historical writing in the past. But in other ways the definition is problematic. It is not ‘time’ that brings change, but the actions of human and non-human agents. And it is not just time past that environmental history should consider, but the ways in which past and present behaviours shape environmental futures. Perhaps the reason for the growing popularity of the field internationally since the 1970s, and in New Zealand in the last decade or more, is that the ways in which history is written reflect the preoccupations and anxieties of its times.⁸

Consider the photograph in Figure 1.1. This was taken about 1875 by James Bragge, a Wellington photographer born in County Durham. Rather than concentrating on portraiture, the lifeblood that sustained his contemporary practitioners, Bragge fitted out a horse-drawn cart as a portable darkroom that allowed him to capture the develop­ment of the new city and its environs. He received an award at the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879 for a series of views commissioned by the Wellington City Council. This was a year after his second expedition across the Rimutaka Ranges, north of the city, where he recorded the extension of the railway and the farming frontier into places previously covered in tussock grass, thick bush and forest.⁹ The photograph is of what Bragge called ‘Five Mile Avenue’ in the Forty Mile Bush in the upper Wairarapa. Outwardly it is a portrayal of the impressiveness of the bush; even, given the small size of the human figure, its oppressiveness.

Figure 1.1 ‘Five Mile Ave, Forty Mile Bush’, photograph by James Bragge, c. 1875. Source: negative no. D000086, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Bragge’s photograph, however, is no more innocent as a record of what he saw than any other of the extensive records that survive from this time as documents of environmental change. Scholarship on photography has demonstrated that as a practice it was as central to contemporary discourses of colonisation as were written accounts and maps.¹⁰ Photographers brought to their images, especially in the selection of viewpoints and the manner of framing scenes, an ‘imaginative geography’ that implicitly betrayed their view of nature and its relation to human endeavour. This photograph highlights not so much the bush but the avenue that draws the invading eye through the trees. And if the smallness of the human figure implies awe of the vegetation, it can equally be suggested that the man is not cowed by it. Rather, he represents the colonial mission to cut down or burn the trees, to convert potentially fruitful land to grass, or to transform external resources into social value. As the editor of the Manawatu Times put it in 1877: ‘although the smoke may inconvenience us and the charred avenues offend the eye, we must accept all thankfully as a mark of local progress.’¹¹ The photograph documents culture as much as it does nature.

It has been argued that ‘the environment[s] we inhabit [are] inseparable from human culture’ – in other words, from the ways in which we see and use environments.¹² Everything that surrounds us – rural and urban landscapes, coastlines, even the sea – is shaped, traversed and harvested in accordance with cultural imperatives and social needs. Our awareness of these environments, and our representations and interpretations of them, reflect human traditions and expectations. Far from being ‘objective’, this awareness is shaped by deep-seated assumptions about actual or idealised relations between people and nature.¹³ For Māori, kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is ‘an obligation to safeguard and care for the environment for future generations … it is an inherited commitment that links … the spiritual realm with the human world and both of those with the earth and all that is on it’.¹⁴ In contrast, the world view of Europeans reflects a subject position that constructs nature as something external to the individual. It is this assumption that is inherent in the Treaty of Waitangi drawn up on behalf of the British Crown and signed with Māori tribes in 1840.¹⁵ For both peoples, therefore, nature and people have been deeply intertwined, whether this connection is recognised or covert. The making of a new land has been a social process.

This point was recognised by an earlier generation of European commentators. Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the post-Enlightenment dreamer, wrote in his Art of Colonization about the necessity of renaming apparently virgin country, including land occupied by Māori who had not used it in ways recognisable to Europeans, as it ‘make[s] part of the moral atmosphere of the country’.¹⁶ To Wakefield, colonisation would produce a new geography, ‘improving’ that which had been ‘wilderness’ into the Eden of the Book of Genesis. Improvement was the ideology of colonisation: it applied to both lands and peoples, and one of its most potent symbols was the garden. Henry Sewell, the Canterbury colonist, proclaimed in the 1850s: ‘The first creation was a garden, and the nearer we get back to the garden state, the nearer we approach what may be called the true normal state of Nature.’¹⁷ The result was deforested landscapes such as that photographed in the mid-1920s by Jesse Buckland above Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula (Figure 1.2). In the words of a local author, ‘True gloomy Rembrandt like shadows have disappeared … but we cannot help fancying that to the thinking person the present landscape is far more gratifying … in the stead of the past beauties are smiling slopes of grass …’¹⁸

The production of this garden colony was seen as a triumph of progressiveness. It had accomplished in one century, as Kenneth Cumberland wrote in the American Geographical Society’s Geographical Review in the early 1940s, ‘what in Europe took twenty centuries, and in North America four’. Cumberland had only recently arrived in Canterbury from Britain; his was an initial broad-brush analysis of what he saw happening around him. He followed it with many years of more detailed research into New Zealand’s landscape development.¹⁹ For a while he worked alongside a Canadian visitor in the Geography Department at Canterbury University College, the historical geographer Andrew Hill Clark. Clark in turn published a book based on his extensive fieldwork in the South Island: The Invasion of New Zealand by People, Plants and Animals (1949). This, he wrote, was ‘a report on a revolutionary change in the character of a region, which occurred in a period of less than two centuries’.²⁰ These writers also recognised the considerable environmental costs of the transformation. In part they drew from the great American cultural geographer of the time, Carl Sauer, who had observed in 1938 that ‘the growing mastery of man over his environment’ must set against ‘the revenge of an outraged nature’.²¹

Figure 1.2 A landscape of ‘improvement’ with the forest stripped bare for grass, photo by Jesse Buckland looking towards Akaroa, c. 1925. Source: AK: 2003.18.2, Akaroa Museum

Cumberland devoted much of his early career to recording and analysing the extent of the soil erosion that emerged with the removal of bush in wet hill-country areas, such as Bragge’s Wairarapa, and the degradation of the South Island hill country from what he interpreted as overstocking, as well as from the invasion of pests like rabbits.²² In 1986, New Zealand was the subject of a lengthy case study in the American Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism, which put such invasions in a wider global frame.²³ In 1999, another American, William Cronon, wrote the preface for a reissue of Herbert Guthrie-Smith’s study of environmental change on his Hawke’s Bay sheep station, Tutira, first published in 1921, which Cronon described as ‘one of the great English-language classics of environmental history’. In Tutira, Guthrie-Smith discussed the effects of interventions on the land as ‘the cumulative result of trivialities’, and wondered if, after a lifelong commitment to improvement, it would not have been better to ‘admire, conserve, let well alone’.²⁴

New narratives

The reissue of Guthrie-Smith’s book, and the death of Cumberland in 2011, have brought these key texts in New Zealand environmental history back into wider view. As a field of academic study and popular interest, the contemporary practice of environmental history, however, has relatively recent roots. Its cause has been helped by the interest shown by overseas scholars such as Crosby, Cronon and Thomas Dunlap,²⁵ but a turning point came with the publication, just before the new millennium, of the New Zealand Historical Atlas. This was perhaps the first time that environmental perspectives were incorporated in a mainstream historical project. The Atlas does this not just for pre-European Māori, but also for the century and a half after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 between the British Crown and Māori tribes. That it was a product of a team drawn from a range of disciplines, but primarily geography and history, helps to explain this. So too does the context of its making: it was begun in 1990 as a sesquicentennial project to mark 150 years of the signing of the Treaty, at a time when a new environmental politics was prominent (leading in 1991 to the Resource Management Act, for example).²⁶

The writing of history itself has changed as well, albeit less evenly. One highly regarded book, James Belich’s Making Peoples (1996), explored at some length the resource dependence of Polynesian colonists in New Zealand, although once it switched attention to Anglo-Celtic immigrants, environmental transformation faded from the account, as if culture had without question subsumed nature. The same can be said of the second volume, Paradise Reforged (2001), as it told the story of New Zealand’s move from colony to self-governing dominion, and on to an independent nation state. Michael King’s History of New Zealand (2003) does however acknowledge the work of making environments by both Māori and Pākehā.²⁷ The third edition of the Oxford History of New Zealand, published in 2009 (the first two editions were 1981 and 1992), included for the first time a chapter specifically devoted to environmental history, written by Paul Star, who had earlier noted that since Crosby had ‘painted the broad brushstrokes in his book, no New Zealand historians [had] taken a closer look’.²⁸

The first edition of this current book, published in 2002, set out to extend these brushstrokes and to fill in some of the detail between. The Introduction described how its narratives ‘incorporate a range of approaches to environmental history, as is characteristic of the field’.²⁹ In the present edition, these approaches again reproduce the disciplinary allegiances of the authors, which range from history and geography to archaeology, environmental law and landscape ecology. This is one sense in which the subtitle of this book, ‘Environmental histories’, reflects its diverse contents. The contents also share, however, a number of common points and perspectives about ‘nature’ and the environment, human agency, and how the interactions between these are represented and interpreted.

First, what is often loosely called the ‘environment’ is not nearly as ‘natural’ as it might seem. ‘Instead,’ as Cronon has written, ‘it is a profoundly human construction.’³⁰ The concept of ‘nature’ has been prominent in Western thought for more than two thousand years, whereas the term ‘environment’ has been in regular use only since the 1960s and the widespread realisation of the effects of human activity on ‘nature’. The non-human world is of course neither unreal nor imaginary: its materiality cannot be denied. Yet in the sense that nature is a human category, that it is seen, understood and shaped by human actions, people have always ‘made’ nature. They have been inconsistent in the use of the word: to describe something as ‘natural’, for example, may mean that it is relatively wild and untouched; or it may mean that it fits an explicit or unspoken ideal about how things should be, as Henry Sewell’s description of a garden above illustrates.³¹ Human ideas of what constitutes nature also change, sometimes quite rapidly. Swamps and bogs, often demonised in the Pākehā imagination, have over the last 20 years become ‘wetlands’. In this way they have been accorded a status representing life more akin to traditional Māori valuations of such landscapes. Nature can be many things at once.

Second, everything in nature is fluidly connected to everything else. Change is constant. Despite their apparent re-evaluation, the pollution of wetlands continues apace precisely because they are part of wider ecosystems that include the human-use systems that generate vast quantities of waste, for example from stock and from chemical additives used on farmland. Recent assessments of the state of waterways and wetlands indicate the extent to which water quality is deteriorating in many places. Cronon writes that the ‘natural world is far more dynamic, far more changeable, and far more entangled with human history than popular beliefs … have typically acknowledged’.³² The environment was not an empty or neutral stage on which Pākehā could without encumbrance act out their visions, even though it was often seen that way. The hazardous nature of apparently benign environments was rarely understood, or, if it was, this was usually quickly forgotten. Nor was the stage empty, as Figures 1.1 and 1.2 imply. The lands and waters of Aotearoa were Māori, and were named and used as such.³³

Third, New Zealand did not develop in isolation after European arrival, but rather was connected through evolving webs and complex networks with much of the rest of the globe, and with the British world in particular. It was Marx, in his critique of Wakefield, who portrayed the political economy of colonisation as an international division of labour between the metropole and colonies that were developed to produce surpluses of food and materials. Recent work has both filled in and extended this essential insight.³⁴ Rollo Arnold in Settler Kaponga shows how the making of a small Taranaki settlement could not be understood apart from its wider context; and Felicity Barnes in New Zealand’s London discusses how New Zealand was remade as a kind of rural hinterland of London, both culturally and economically.³⁵ But the centre did not only manipulate the edge: colonialism was very much a process of exchange that shaped both coloniser and colonised and, by implication, the environments of both. The networks were multiple. Plant material, for example, arrived in New Zealand from Asia and the Americas as well as from Europe, and left in other directions: notably as part of trans-Pacific networks. Environmental anxieties accompanied change, and ideas about how to respond were shared between parts of South Asia and Australasia.³⁶ The contexts and content of colonisation were rich and variable but, importantly, more actively interconnected than has often been apparent.

The contributors to this book also share certain conventions about historical writing and representation. The ways in which stories about the past are told depend on careful identification and use of historical sources, and on recognition that an ‘archive’ is a social construct invariably not made for the purposes for which it is subsequently used. What is left out may be as important as what is included.³⁷ The framework of interpretation is crucial. How a chapter is written reflects the question or issue that the author wishes to address, and the body of ideas and literature that they use to frame their analysis. Similarly, how a chapter is read is shaped by the interests of the reader: not everyone receives the same message, as each person brings their own frame of reference to the text.

Figure 1.3 William Fox, House in Nelson, 1848, watercolour. Source: Hocken Collections, Uare Taoka o Hākena, University of Otago

The use of figures has received careful consideration. The photographs reproduced in this book are far more than a documentary record – if indeed they are that at all. They are not just ‘illustrations’ but are framed by the conventions of their time, in the same way that maps and paintings have been. Each can be regarded as a technology. In this context, the contents of the Pākehā archive sometimes sought to record difference and wonder; often, however, they embody an urge to appropriate so-called Māori ‘wastelands’.³⁸ They reflect a form of panoptical vision, in which the recorder was – literally – master of all surveyed. This was often strongly contested, by both Māori and Pākehā, but it was a vision that was both boundless, seeking to draw into its gaze all that lay before it, and bounded, in the sense of desiring to delimit and commodify land and resources. William Fox’s watercolours illustrate this. Fox was the New Zealand Company agent in Nelson from 1843 to 1850, and his painting of his own house shows a garden transformed with exotic plants, incorporated as a neat and tidy realm; beyond its boundaries lie apparently empty lands awaiting similar transformation (Figure 1.3).³⁹ The point is that none of the figures in this book should be approached as if they are in some way neutral.

The chapters

The book is divided into five parts. The first, ‘Encounters’, concerns Māori and Pākehā responses to a new land, and the interaction and contest between them. This is followed by ‘Colonising’, in which key themes of transformation between the mid-1800s and 1920 (improving grasslands, developing mining and removing the bush) are considered. ‘Wild places’, the third part, examines particular initiatives and places – such as nature conservation, wetlands and mountains – that were often marginalised by the processes highlighted in Part II. ‘Modernising’ takes in the major themes of twentieth-century environmental change: the adoption of science to render economic production and protection of resources more effective, and the making of urban environments. Part V, ‘Perspectives’, ranges widely to reflect on contemporary environmental themes in historical context.

The three chapters in Part I explore pre-European Māori environmental impacts, the contest for resources between Māori and Pākehā, and the wider context of settler capitalism within which resources were sought and nature and ‘native’ subjugated. In Chapter 2, Atholl Anderson discusses the effect of pre-European Māori on what he calls ‘a fragile plenty’, as they expanded ‘as rapidly as possible using the richest resources with pitiless energetic efficiency’. In saying this, Anderson places Māori colonisation, in its early stages, firmly within the character of ‘colonisation everywhere and at all times’. His essay reaches the conclusion that New Zealand was not colonised till the thirteenth century. Thereafter, however, the environment was culturally and materially appropriated, resulting in widespread vertebrate extinctions and deforestation, before environmental learning brought about the sort of adaptive change that is today often taken – by Māori and non-Māori alike – as somehow inherent to Māori culture. Anderson thus counters the mythology of the environmentally benign noble savage that permeates much everyday thinking, and counters those who imagine (as did many European colonists) that pre-European Māori were not capable of environmental change.

Evelyn Stokes builds on this view in Chapter 3, showing how a strong sense of territoriality and boundedness developed as Māori exploited localised, fine-grained sources of protein and highly productive gardens. Identity became strongly enmeshed in place and ancestry, a world view based on ‘a sense of custodial occupation … that the environment should be maintained in a fit state for generations to come’. Such a sense led to land rights defined in terms of use and occupation, not in terms of alienation in the European way. Stokes stresses the complexity of and scope for misunderstanding in transactions with Pākehā, while emphasising the adaptability of Māori in taking advantage of opportunities to trade in environmental resources. Increasing power and numbers of Europeans, however, led to appropriation of the resource that both parties valued the most: land. The imposition of British law resulted in alienation of land, formerly held under customary title, to the Crown and private owners.

Whereas Chapter 3 focuses on the North Island, and particularly the Far North, Jim McAloon concentrates more on the South Island in his discussion of early Pākehā contact and settlement in Chapter 4. His emphasis is to place European colonisation in the perspective of the global economy and cultural politics of the time. New Zealand lay ‘on the edge of empire’, as part of Australia’s Pacific frontier, with a range of commodities of interest to markets in Britain, North America, China and India. McAloon shows how lengthy and involved were the tentacles that began to envelop Māori societies in this contact period. These tentacles embodied what he describes as ‘the moral economy of capitalism’ built on a ‘new international division of labour’. In turn, this moral economy was predicated on the European concept of land as a tradable commodity, and on organised settlement through the establishment of towns.

The three chapters in Part II make up the ‘Colonising’ section. They examine some of the big themes of environmental change between the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: the remaking of the grasslands, the effects of mining and quarrying, and the assault on the forest. Robert Peden and Peter Holland in Chapter 5 discuss the transformation of the open country of the eastern flanks of the North and South Islands by the first two generations of Pākehā settlers, who modified and, in the lowlands, annihilated ‘evolutionarily tested native ecosystems … replacing them with functionally incomplete systems dominated by introduced plant and animal species’. The settlers experimented to match introduced plants and animals to local environments, and although they practised burning with some care, they fought to come to terms with rabbits, weeds and the weather. They created landscapes that functioned as the ‘engine room’ of New Zealand’s economy till the 1920s.

In Chapter 6, Terry Hearn focuses on the environmental impacts of mining, frequently neglected in standard accounts of settlement. Gold boosted nineteenth-century export earnings, and had significance in many other ways, drawing in people and capital from a trans-Pacific circuit of goldrushes, and precipitating conflicts between landholders and miners over the effects of discharge of mine waste in particular. The New Zealand government and its agents were more accommodating of the mining interest than those of either Victoria or California. Mining law discounted ‘social and environmental costs in the interests of sustained exploitation’. A detailed case study of the consequences of goldmining in the North Island Waihou–Ohinemuri goldfield reveals how the siltation of rivers and flooding generated disputes between Pākehā and Māori landholders. Coal mining and quarrying were by contrast more limited in their effects.

In Chapter 7, Graeme Wynn describes New Zealand in the nineteenth century as ‘a wooden world’. The bush, like the grasslands, might appear of a piece, but varied immensely in composition as well as in potential social value. Timber was used for a wide range of purposes in towns and cities at the same time as it was burned to clear land for farming. Within the prevailing discourse of progress and improvement, the results, however messy, were seen often as achievements. This chapter also enlarges on a theme introduced in the two preceding chapters: the growth of disquiet caused by anxiety about the destruction of valuable resources and concerns for ecological and aesthetic impacts. The New Zealand Forests Act of 1874, albeit ineffective, was one of the earliest state conservation measures in the British Empire.

The eventual resolution to the timber issue lay with an allocation mechanism: good land was to be settled, while those areas with little production potential could remain tree-covered. In Chapter 8, Paul Star and Lynne Lochhead trace the fate of this ‘indigenous

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