Stout Research Centre Seminar by Jonathan West (Wellington, 31 October 2018)

Jonathan West will present a paper as part of the Stout Research Roundup Seminar Series this October. See details below:

The Face of Nature: Histories of the Otago Peninsula and the world

The Otago Peninsula has been at the centre of Otago for most of human history. It is the place most important to Māori: long fought over, shared with whalers, argued over and eventually split between Māori and British settlers. It was central in the nineteenth century to feeding a booming Dunedin city and home to many of its leading citizens, first and foremost the extraordinary William Larnach. It is now the heart of Dunedin’s ecotourism industry and its claim to be the wildlife capital of New Zealand.

The Peninsula has been so significant because it has attracted and held a succession of the big forces that shaped the final frontier of human history – our expansion into the third of the globe that is the Pacific Ocean.

This seminar links local history to such wider stories. It focuses first on the forces of nature, and then on their combination with the forces of human history – the entanglements of empire, booming settler capitalism, the quest for national identity and an honourable home here – to suggest how these have shaped not just the Peninsula, but Otago, New Zealand, and the wider Pacific.

About the speaker: 

Jonathan West is a New Zealand historian broadly interested in the intersections of environmental, economic and cultural change. His book The Face of Nature: An Environmental History of the Otago Peninsula was published by Otago University Press in 2017, and shortlisted for Illustrated Non-Fiction in the 2018 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. He has published also on histories of New Zealand’s wilderness and the South Island high country. He next hopes to write an environmental history of New Zealand’s lakes. He meanwhile manages the historian team at the Office of Treaty Settlements.

Date: Wednesday 31 October 2018
Time: 4.10 p.m. – Tea and Coffee at 3.45 p.m.
Venue: Stout Research Centre Seminar Room, 12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn