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