Weeds, people and contested places : selected themes from the history of New Zealanders and their weeds, 1770-1940
Abstract:This study examines three basic questions. Why did so many familiar floral species with which agricultural people have more or less successfully contested places for some 10,000 years apparently become highly problematic in New Zealand? How did those in whom the developing contest aroused considerable anxiety try to solve the problems they saw emerging? And what were the outcomes of their chosen courses of action? This study is organised around three main themes, science, the law and agricultural practices. Within each theme I take into consideration the ways New Zealanders used particular aspects of these broad disciplines to try to identify, understand and solve the problems they perceived to have been caused by their weedy biota. I also consider the extent to which recourse to these means has helped or hindered the ends they sought.The methodology adopted for this study is a variation of an 'organisational approach', advocated by the German environmental historian Frank Uekoetter. It focuses on the ways responses to perceived environmental problems are organised within a society. From my use of Uekoetter's model I conclude that, despite a number of setbacks during the mid to late 19th century, by 1939 New Zealanders had developed highly dynamic processes within their weed science, extending into the wider farming community, by which they could feel their way with some confidence into a future where they might better manage the contest with their weeds, if not actually eradicate them.
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: History
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
xi, 458 leaves, 1 leaf of plates :ill., maps ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: History