RM Journal

Book Review -Beyond Manapouri: 50 years of environmental politics in New Zealand

The author of this book is Catherine Knight and the review by Setareh Stienstra, Barrister was first published in the August edition of the RM Journal.

The author’s central tenet is that without the environment, the New Zealand economy would not exist. The dialogue that this book has opened is wide-ranging and important: not since the Save Manapouri campaign have we focused on what it is that we value in the environment and try to protect it.

That was 50 years ago; shouldn’t we take the opportunity to determine where we want New Zealand to be in 50 to 150 years’ time? What is the legacy of the current policy framework?

These first three chapters are factual and contain a myriad of references to further reading material for anyone who is interested in investigating the facts summarised by Knight, or who is just interested in the history of the environmental movement in New Zealand.

The next two chapters focus on the shift from conservation and development to resource management and the positive influence that Māori concepts have brought to resource management practice.

To those in resource management who began practising in the 1950s–1980s when resource management was an extension of property law, some of the issues raised may not be new; but for anyone who started practising after the introduction of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), these early chapters provide a comprehensive review of the past, even if that view is tinged with a conservation ethic.

The next four chapters tackle the issues that New Zealand faces as a society today.

Read the review