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ENVI211 Environmental History of New Zealand

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Historical overview of environmental impacts and human expectations from the first settlement of Aotearoa to the present.

Environmental history of New Zealand explores the interaction of humans and environment over the last millennia. 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 and rapid environmental degradation. 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.

Paper title Environmental History of New Zealand
Paper code ENVI211
Subject Environment and Society
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $913.95
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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54 points
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Science

Teaching staff

Convenor: Dr Sarah Mager

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.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By the end of the paper students will have learnt about environmental imaginaries and how perspectives of the 'natural world' are formed and transformed. The complex reasons for the extent and speed of the transformation of the Aotearoa New Zealand is explored through the decline of indigenous forests, wetlands, and tussock grasslands and the remaking of the landscape to and industrialised 'ideal' embedded by English colonialism.The complex reasons for the extent and speed of that transformation will be explained, and critically reflect on how environmental legacies persist in contemporary environmental management in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Tuesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 12:00-12:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40-41
A4 Monday 15:00-15:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40-41
A5 Tuesday 10:00-10:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40-41