Hosted by Alison Ballance of RNZ’s Our Changing World, author Paul Bensemann, and botanists Dr Peter Johnson and Associate Professor Dr Janice Lord discuss New Zealand’s native bushland. They will talk about yesterday’s campaigns to save our forests, analyse today’s problems, and ponder tomorrow’s challenges, and its exciting possibilities.
It’s been 50 years since the Save Manapouri Petition was submitted to Parliament in 1970, a petition signed by almost 10% of New Zealand’s population. Some say this campaign was the awakening of our nation’s appreciation and desire to preserve our native forests.
Wild Dunedin is marking this anniversary by inviting Paul Bensemann, author, journalist, and campaigner with the Native Forest Action Council in the 1970s, to be our guest speaker.
Paul Bensemann’s book Fight for the Forests – The Pivotal Campaigns that Saved New Zealand’s Native Forests celebrates the passion, bravery and clever strategies that the conservation campaigners used to save the forests, and also reminds us that New Zealand’s forests, especially the beech forests, would have been lost if attitudes hadn’t changed.
Fight for the Forests emphasises the vital role of research and data in convincing people that a habitat is worth protecting. Botanist Peter Johnson’s work as a research student under Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark was instrumental in convincing the people of New Zealand to save Manapouri.
As seasoned campaigners, Peter and Paul have a lot to offer in the discussion on current and future problems, particularly introduced animals and invasive plant species.
Janice Lord, Associate Professor of Botany at Otago University, is currently conducting research on rewilding Mahu Whenua, the 55 000-hectare covenanted block of land that combines most of Motatapu, Mt Soho, and Glencoe and Coronet Peak stations between Arrowtown and Wanaka. Mahu Whenua means ‘healing the land’.
Host Alison Ballance spent 18 years producing and directing wildlife documentaries for NHNZ in Dunedin before joining RNZ. The author of 29 books, she is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to natural history, film making, and broadcasting.
Come along and be inspired to help Dunedin to stay wild.