324 pages, 85 colour & b/w illustrations, 9 maps
New Zealand's Rivers: An Environmental History explores the relationship between New Zealanders and their rivers, explaining how they have arrived at a crisis point, where fresh water has become their most contested resource and many rivers are too polluted to swim in. Environmental historian Catherine Knight reveals that the tension between exploitation and enjoyment of rivers is not new. Rivers were treasured by Maori as food baskets and revered as the dwelling places of supernatural creatures. But following European settlement, they became drains for mining, industrial waste and sewage, and were harnessed to generate power and to irrigate farmland. Over time, the utilitarian view of rivers has been increasingly questioned by those who value rivers for recreation as well as for ecological, spiritual and cultural reasons. Today, the sustainable use of rivers is the subject of intense debate. Thoroughly researched and richly illustrated, New Zealand's Rivers is an accessible and compelling read for all New Zealanders, including anglers, kayakers, farmers, environmental practitioners, policy-makers, students and anyone with an interest in our environment and history.
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