Availability : 12
Title: NZ's Rivers: An Environmental History
Author: KNIGHT CATHERINE
Rivers are central to our identity as New Zealanders. They shape
our landscape, forming the fertile plains we live and farm on, and
provide the water that is so critical to our lives and economy.
Since Europeans first settled in New Zealand, rivers have
been exploited for both personal and public gain. We have taken
water from rivers, returning it laden with pollutants; we have
harnessed them for irrigation and to generate electricity. After
nearly two centuries of taking our rivers for granted, we are
facing a crisis. New Zealand’s Rivers: An environmental history
tells the story of how we got to this point. It examines:
• The richly textured relationship between Maori and awa
• How European settlers perceived and utilised rivers
• The introduction of trout and salmon, and the role of
acclimatisation societies as the earliest advocates for our
• The hydroelectricity schemes, which reached their peak in
the ‘Think Big’ era
• Recreational boating, including the invention of the jet boat
on our unique braided rivers
• The environmental movement and protection of rivers
• The impact of agriculture on rivers
• The efforts of Maori to assert mana (authority) over their awa
through Treaty claims and other means.
New Zealand’s Rivers is a must-read for all New Zealanders
interested in the future of our environment and economy.
Confronting the history of our complex – and often conflicted
– relationship with rivers is critical to building a shared
understanding of how to better manage this precious resource
into the future.