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'Re-wilding' our cities' lost waterways

The announcement of the upcoming symposium on Perth's 'lost lakes' - 'a 200 year history of infill, paving, draining, damming, over-building, covering and erasure', set my mind whirring. It made me think of the lost lagoons of my home-town, Palmerston North - once the food-baskets of Rangitane, and of course the buried streams of Christchurch, which reasserted themselves in the Canterbury earthquakes, destabilising the ground they had been buried under, with tragic consequences. And it got me thinking. Given that Australia and New Zealand have so much shared history - one of building our towns and cities over wetlands, lakes, lagoons and streams - wouldn't it be amazing to hold a Australas

Melding science and story-telling for a better future

I was privileged last month to be invited to be keynote speaker at the Fifth Biennial Symposium of the International Society of River Society, held not far from the mighty Waikato River (pictured). When first approached, I was a little daunted by the prospect: what on earth could I offer to a conference of river experts? I settled on a talk focusing on how our understanding of and attitudes towards rivers have changed through history. From the way the first people to settle in this land developed a relationship with rivers and associated wetlands, estuaries and streams; the way rivers were categorised and attributed with value (or not) by the first colonists; through to the way they have bee

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