2014 Manawatu Lecture

Ravaged Beauty: an environmental history of the Manawatu

Dr Catherine Knight

7.00 pm Tuesday, 16 September, Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

This talk will explore the relationship between humans and the Manawatu environment since Polynesians first settled on its coast, several hundred of years ago. It will examine the ways in which people have shaped the landscape, and how the Manawatu’s unique environment has influenced the people that have made their life here. As the defining feature of the region, the Manawatu River is a central element of this story. Not only has it been a pivotal force shaping the land through which it runs, its currents also reflect the evolving relationship of people with the environment over time.

Catherine Knight has long been fascinated by the interactions between people and the environment – what factors drive human behaviour, and how people’s attitudes and knowledge about the environment evolves. Her research is not limited to New Zealand – her doctorate explored the complex relationship between humans and bears in Japan, where she lived for six years.

Catherine was born in the Manawatu, and her realisation about how dramatically the environment had changed since European settlement motivated her to write a book about the environmental history of the Manawatu. In 2010, Catherine was awarded the New Zealand Research Trust Fund Award in History for this research, and in 2012, she was awarded the Claude McCarthy Research Fellowship. Catherine works in environmental policy, and she also runs the envirohistoryNZ website, which explores many aspects of environmental history through words and images, especially about the Manawatu.

All warmly welcome


New Zealand’s renewable geothermal resources

Chris Bromley, GNS Science

2014 Hochstetter Lecture and the RSNZ Manawatu August 2014 meeting – joint with the Geoscience Society of New Zealand 

7.30 pm Tuesday, 26 August, Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

Renewable energy will be crucial for the long-term future of all mankind. In New Zealand, we are relatively fortunate, in that renewable geothermal energy is already a major contributor (18%) to electricity and industrial heat demands. Decades of well-focussed applied research have given us a global technological advantage in developing and utilising all types of geothermal resources, through cost-effective and environmentally benign strategies. Gazing into the crystal ball, what additional future use could we make of our geothermal resources? Should we attempt to develop surplus cheap geothermal power in the hopes of exporting it to Australia by cable or fully electrifying our transport sector? Or should we develop our hot water resources to establish large district heating schemes and attract more energy intensive industry?

 To address these questions we need to be confident that our geothermal resource use will be sustainable, and will not cause unwanted adverse environmental effects, or detract from our significant geothermal tourism assets. This requires more-advanced monitoring and better modelling of reservoir behaviour, in order to inform the adaptive decision-making process. Boreholes provide data for 3D models of reservoir properties, and a means of directly monitoring pressure, temperature and fluid chemistry. Geophysics monitoring and exploration offer more indirect information on resources. Integrated interpretation of these data with information on geochemical and hydrothermal processes is the key to better conceptual understanding, improved simulation models of reservoir behaviour, and more astute reservoir management.

 All warmly welcome