Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Making our place Exploring land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand

Edited by Jacinta Ruru, Janet Stephenson, Mick Abbott
RRP $45.00 / £18.50 UK
Otago University Press

What New Zealanders are most passionate about is not rugby (with all due respect to our national side at the World Cup), but our land. Love of our landscapes is perhaps the defining trait of being a New Zealander. In the past ten years in particular, questions over the use of the land have bubbled to the fore, taking centre stage in the national discourse.Foreshore and seabed, dairy farming, coastal development, indigenous customary rights, Treaty obligations, resource management policies, tenure review, wind-farms and green energy vs landscape protection,land-owner rights and economic development vs public environmental values and environmental sustainability – these are issues that have been at the centre of heated public debate and divisive legal battles and on which everyone has an opinion.
Making Our Place: Land-use tensions in Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Jacinta Ruru, Janet Stephenson and Mick Abbott, is the first book to draw some of these land-use debates together, to explore the issues behind them and suggest or reflect on their resolutions.The contributors to the book are from fields as diverse as architecture, ecology, design, history,planning, law, theology and tourism. Their essays are on wind-farming, wahi tapu, dairying, public landmarks, iwi management, surveying, rural land, Maori and Pakeha place names, rural-residential development, foreshore and seabed, and the conservation estate. And they move around the country:
to Taranaki, Central Otago, Waikato, Whanganui, Auckland, Northland, Taieri, and the Mackenzie Country. All engage with the underlying question: are there better ways to reconcile the tensions inherent in our struggles with the land and each other?
All three editors are based at the University of Otago: Jacinta Ruru in the Faculty of Law, Janet Stephenson at the Centre for the Study of Agriculture, Food and Environment, and Mick Abbott at the Department of Design Studies.

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