Environmental History of New Zealand
University of Otago
Dunedin, New Zealand
Area of Study
Anthropology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, History
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3 - 4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4 - 6
Hours & Credits
Historical overview of environmental impacts and human expectations from the first settlement of Aotearoa to the present.
This is an interdisciplinary paper on the environmental history of New Zealand, ie the interaction of humans and environment that has occurred since the arrival of humans about 800 years ago. It attempts to cover that story in a roughly chronological manner. As one of the last land masses on earth to be settled by humans, and with endemic flora and fauna long isolated from evolutionary trajectories elsewhere, Aotearoa/New Zealand is seen as an outstanding 'laboratory' of environmental interaction. With two main pulses of settlement, it offers unique opportunities for comparative studies of human modifications of the environment and human responses to such change.
By the end of the paper students will have learnt about the extent to which New Zealand is a land transformed from rain forest, swamp and tussock land to giant stock farm covered in grasses of English origin. The complex reasons for the extent and speed of that transformation will be explained, and students will have begun to cross the bridge between the Arts and Sciences and the past and future.
Required: Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking (eds), Making a New Land: Environmental Histories of New Zealand, New Edition (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2013).
In addition, course materials will be made available electronically.
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