The environmental politics of the creation of Kahurangi national park
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis seeks to examine the environmental politics associated with the creation of Kahurangi National Park in 1996. The aims of the thesis are to look at the growth of national parks throughout time and how they have created a platform whereby the Kahurangi landscape became eligible for park status. Conflict of interests regarding Kahurangi occurred, involving many groups who participated in the official investigation process. Also the creation of the park has impacted on the region and this is analysed one year after its creation. The park is explained in the context of the growth of landscape preservation since the nineteenth century. Natural landscape has been treated as a commodity throughout time and preservation must not be seen as a benevolent act of protecting the environment for its own sake, but for human desires and needs. Kahurangi represents a different type of park from the 'icon' centred landscapes of New Zealand's other parks due to the evolution of social and economic circumstances. Many interest groups valued the Kahurangi landscape and they sought to protect their interests by manipulating the process. The impact on the park and region has not as yet been significant due to the short space of time for any change to occur however, the key to any management plan is balancing free access and preservation. In the future, without proper management, preservation will slowly be relegated behind free access and this access will be restricted to those that can afford park charges.