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Ravaged Beauty: An environmental history of the Manawatū

Only a century and a half ago, the Manawatū was a heavily forested hinterland: the floodplains were a sea of swamps and lagoons, teeming with birdlife and fish. But within a few decades, the forest had been reduced to ashes, and the swamps and lagoons were being drained away. Progress marched across the landscape in the form of farms and settlements.

It wasn’t long before nature “exacted its revenge”: erosion scarred the hillsides, floods ravaged farms and towns. Pollution of the rivers saw fish dying en masse.

In this talk Dr Catherine Knight will give us insight into this history, and highlight how our relationship with the environment is starting to change.