Early painting & letter reveal pioneer eco worries


John Gully painting from 1883, looking south from Paekākāriki towards Pukerua Bay

The latest Nga Uruora-Kāpiti newsletter contains a fascinating early painting

Google Earth image of the same view now

from Paekakariki (left) — and a pioneer’s letter to the Wellington Evening Post expressing the same worries about natural destruction we still see today.

The newsletter reports: ‘There is a long history of human habitation in the area.

‘The forested areas now are all secondary growth and large podocarps like rimu are absent. (As) Maggy Wassilieff wrote “Francis W. Smith settled Tunapo in 1859 and presumably cleared the forest and sowed pasture grasses sometime between 1860 and 1880.”

Early letter shows worries about native bush destruction

But a letter to the Editor of the Evening Post (see below) signed ‘Settler’ outlines a landowner’s worries about the widespread destruction of native bush in the late 1890’s — something Nga Uruora is still struggling to put right some 122 years later!


Nga Uruora comments: Après nous, le déluge, ‘After us, let the deluge come’, implying that people don’t care what happens after their disappearance.

Sadly, 122 years later, dealing with a climate crisis and a biodiversity crisis it appears the writer was largely correct.

( The newsletter also thanks Mark Amery for sharing the pictures and letter)


Anyone wanting to contact, or join, Nga Uruora-Kāpiti can reach them at — kapitibush@gmail.com

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