Know your his­tory to forge a bet­ter fu­ture for our rivers

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS - By MERANIA KARAURIA

Know­ing our his­tory is an im­por­tant foun­da­tion to forg­ing a bet­ter fu­ture, en­vi­ron­men­tal his­to­rian Dr Cather­ine Knight says.

It is im­por­tant in terms of our en­vi­ron­ment and so­cioe­co­nomic well­be­ing.

Dr Knight spoke on the topic New Zealand’s Rivers: Can We Learn from His­tory in the Palmer­ston North li­brary last month.

In 2017 New Zealan­ders through­out the coun­try were con­cerned at how the coun­try’s rivers had de­graded.

Fresh wa­ter was a key elec­tion is­sue and the in­com­ing gov­ern­ment made some big pol­icy prom­ises.

Those prom­ises were to re­store our rivers and lakes to a truly swimmable state within a gen­er­a­tion, help farm­ers and other own­ers of wa­ter­ways with fenc­ing and ri­par­ian plant­ing through the Ready for Work pro­gramme, and to give re­gional coun­cils the re­sources to clean up their wa­ter­ways through a wa­ter roy­alty.

Dr Knight’s talk pro­vided con­text from her book — New Zealand’s Rivers: An En­vi­ron­men­tal His­tory, which ex­plores some com­plex, and of­ten con­flicted his­tory with rivers since hu­mans first set­tled in Aotearoa New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Rivers was long-listed for the Ock­ham New Zealand Book Awards 2017 and was se­lected as one of the Lis­tener’s best books for 2016.

The New Zealand Her­ald said it was “a thought-pro­vok­ing and im­por­tant book”.

Univer­sity of Otago Pro­fes­sor Tom Brook­ing claimed it was “an im­por­tant book that should be read by all New Zealan­ders in­ter­ested in the fu­ture of the coun­try”.

New Zealand Ma¯ ori Coun­cil chair Sir Tai­hakurei Durie said it “in­forms a New Zealand re­sponse to a world con­cern for the nat­u­ral fresh­wa­ter en­vi­rons: what they were, are now and how they should be for our suc­ces­sors”.

Her pre­vi­ous book, Rav­aged Beauty: An En­vi­ron­men­tal His­tory of the Manawatu¯ won the JM Sher­rard award for ex­cel­lence in re­gional and lo­cal his­tory and Palmer­ston North’s Her­itage Trust’s in­au­gu­ral award for the best work of his­tory on the Manawatu¯ .

Her third book, Be­yond Manapouri: 50 years of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­tics in New Zealand , was re­leased in May this year.

Dr Knight is a pol­icy and com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant who lives with her fam­ily on a small farm­let in the Manawatu¯ where they are restor­ing the to¯ tara for­est that once thrived on the re­gion’s river ter­races. Phone Mo­bile 06 368 2037 06 368 1591 Ian 021 432 995 Ken 021 246 8202

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