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ENVI211 Environmental History of New Zealand

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

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 (i.e. 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.

Paper title Environmental History of New Zealand
Paper code ENVI211
Subject Environment and Society
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

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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 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.

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Second Semester

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
A2 Monday 11:00-11:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40-41
A6 Tuesday 11:00-11:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40-41