Labyrinths New Zealand

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Ngā Uruora sites

Punakaiki 182

Ngā Uruora/the Groves of Life: Ecology and History in a New Zealand Landscape by Geoff Park

Ngā Uruora: The Groves of Life takes the study of New Zealand's natural environment in radical new directions. Part ecology, part history, part personal odyssey, this book offers a fresh perspective on our landscapes and our relationships with them. Geoff Parks' research focuses on New Zealand's fertile coastal plains, country of rich opportunity for both Maori and European inhabitants, but country whose natural character has vanished from the experience of New Zealanders today. Beginning with James Cook's Endeavour party on the Hauraki Plains, and then the New Zealand Company's arrival in the valley that became the Hutt, Park takes us through the river flatlands where the imperatives of colonial settlement transformed the original forests and swamps with ruthless efficiency.

Ngā Uruora's primary journey, however, is to four auspicious places - Tauwhare on the Mokau River, Papaitonga in Horowhenua, Whanganui Inlet and Punakaiki on the South Island's West Coast - where small remnants of the plains forests' indigenous ecosystems of kahikatea and harakeke still survive. The histories of these places, what they mean to Maori, their ecological vulnerability and their significance for conservation are major concerns. Park ties these issues together through the experience of the places themselves, their magic, immediacy and beauty.

Punakaiki, sunset-1

More on this book ...

As a tribute to Geoff Park, who died in March 2009, Radio New Zealand National featured a 6-part radio series of Ngā Uruora.

Articles on Ngā Uruora from EnvirohistoryNZ.

More on Papaitonga ...

Getting to Punakaiki ...

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