Seeds of empire : the environmental transformation of New Zealand


Seeds of empire : the environmental transformation of New Zealand

Tom Brooking and Eric Pawson with Paul Star ... [et al.]

(Environmental history and global change series / series editor, Ian Whyte, 4)

I.B. Tauris, 2011

  • : hbk

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Includes index



The traditional image of New Zealand is one of verdant landscapes with sheep grazing on lush green pastures. Yet this landscape is almost entirely an artificial creation. As Britain became increasingly reliant on its overseas territories for supplies of food and raw material, so all over the Empire indigenous plants were replaced with English grasses to provide the worked up products of pasture - meat, butter, cheese, wool, and hides. In New Zealand this process was carried to an extreme, with forest cleared and swamps drained. How, why and with what consequences did the transformation of New Zealand into these empires of grass occur? 'Seeds of Empire' provides both an exciting appraisal of New Zealand's environmental history and a long overdue exploration of the significance of grass in the processes of sowing empire.


Preface Contributors Terminology, Maori language conventions, place names and measurements Figures and Tables 1 Introduction 2 The contours of transformation 3 Learning about the environment in early colonial New Zealand 4 Pioneer grassland farming: pragmatism, innovation and experimentation 5 Pastoralism and the transformation of the open grasslands 6 Mobilising capital and trade 7 The grass seed trade 8 Flows of agricultural information 9 The farmer, science and the state in New Zealand 10 Remaking the grasslands: the 1920s and 1930s 11 Conclusion Appendix 1: Common and formal names of plants Appendix 2: Short biographies of twelve pasture plants Notes Index

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