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NZ's Conservation History Explored for 1st Time

New Zealand's Conservation History Explored for the First Time

The Minister for Conservation, Hon. Chris Carter, will launch the first-ever history of conservation in New Zealand in Wellington, on Tuesday 12 October.

In Our Islands, Our Selves: A History of Conservation in New Zealand writer David Young explores the evolution of a conservation ethic in this country. The book is published by University of Otago Press in association with the Department of Conservation and Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage and DOC initially discussed the preparation of a departmental history. They quickly realised that a gap in published material about conservation in New Zealand meant there was a need to tell the bigger story. Joris de Bres, former General Manager of External Relations at DOC, took the initiative and arranged the collaboration on a larger history of conservation in New Zealand.

Hugh Logan, Director-General of Conservation, says the Department valued the opportunity to support the writing of this history.

'Pulling all the information together was a daunting task and David Young has done a thorough and insightful job. I congratulate him on his achievement. The history of conservation is one of the big stories of building and defining this nation.'

Bronwyn Dalley, Chief Historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, agrees. 'This is a significant book that touches on the very fabric of this country: how people live in and manage, use and sometimes abuse, this land,' she says.

'Our environment and how we manage it are such vital issues for New Zealand's present and future, and we can certainly learn lessons from the past. This work touches on the successes as well as the failures of our conservation story, and shows how the meaning of 'conservation' has changed over time.'

In Our Islands, Our Selves, Young identifies the issues, personalities and organisations surrounding conservation over the past 200 years. He includes significant discussion on the cultural influences of Mäori and European views of nature. The work illustrates how far our perceptions and actions have come, how often the country got it wrong, and what might still need to done to protect New Zealand's natural environment. Our Islands, Our Selves will be launched at 5:30 at City Gallery Wellington, Tuesday 12 October.

About the Author David Young is the author of Faces of the River and Woven by Water: histories from the Whanganui River, as well as several other books and essays. As a journalist, he has published many articles on the theme of people and the land, history, and the environment. It has been a dream of his for some years to write a book such as this. Book information
Our Islands, Our Selves
A History of Conservation in New Zealand
by David Young
Hardback, 254 x 191 mm, 304 pp, ISBN 1 877276 94 4, RRP $59.95
Launch: 12 October 2004

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