To celebrate the publication of NZ’s Rivers, the shop was happy to host a lunchtime conversation between author Catherine Knight and Newshub reporter Isobel Ewing. A history, beginning with goldmining in NZ is important, Catherine told us, as starting early opens our imaginations to the possibilities of how we could look after fresh water. For instance, in those early days farmers had to alert government to the fact that silt was washing down from mining areas making pasture unusable. Rivers at this time were described in legislation as “sludge channels”. How times change. But the prevailing view is easy to accept and while we look back with horror on aspects of the past, how will future citizens consider our current legislation? Catherine’s book, encouraged by environmental historian Tom Brooking, provides a readable, interesting and informative starting point for a depoliticised conversation on NZ freshwater management. Good questions and discussion from the audience followed an excellent conversation.
NZ’s Rivers: An Environmental History, $50, is available to buy here