Environmental History of New Zealand

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Environmental History of New Zealand

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study

    Anthropology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, History

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    54 Points

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Historical overview of environmental impacts and human expectations from the first settlement of Aotearoa to the present.

    This is an interdisciplinary paper on the environmental history of New Zealand, ie the interaction of humans and environment that has occurred since the arrival of humans about 800 years ago. It attempts to cover that story in a roughly chronological manner. As one of the last land masses on earth to be settled by humans, and with endemic flora and fauna long isolated from evolutionary trajectories elsewhere, Aotearoa/New Zealand is seen as an outstanding 'laboratory' of environmental interaction. With two main pulses of settlement, it offers unique opportunities for comparative studies of human modifications of the environment and human responses to such change.

    Learning Outcomes
    By the end of the paper students will have learnt about the extent to which New Zealand is a land transformed from rain forest, swamp and tussock land to giant stock farm covered in grasses of English origin. The complex reasons for the extent and speed of that transformation will be explained, and students will have begun to cross the bridge between the Arts and Sciences and the past and future.

    Required: Eric Pawson and Tom Brooking (eds), Making a New Land: Environmental Histories of New Zealand, New Edition (Dunedin: Otago University Press, 2013).

    In addition, course materials will be made available electronically.

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