Launch of Thomas Potts: Colonist and conservationist

29 September 2020 5:30pm — 7:00pm

NEW DATE: Join us in celebrating the launch of author Paul Star's book, Thomas Potts: Colonist and conservationist.


In 1858 Canterbury settler Thomas Potts protested against the destruction of tōtara on the Port Hills near Christchurch. A decade later, as a member of Parliament, he made forest conservation a national issue.
Through his writing he raised the then novel idea of protecting native birds on island reserves, and proposed the creation of national ‘domains’ or parks.


As a pioneering colonist, acclimatist and runholder, however, Potts’ own actions threatened the very environments he sought to maintain. This makes him a fascinating subject as we confront present-day problems in balancing development and conservation.


This book is about, and partly by, Potts, and through him about New Zealand and the course and consequences of colonisation. It describes and interprets his life, from his early years in England through to his 34 years in New Zealand. It's a story of conflicting goals, magnificently exemplified in the life and writings of a man who strove, 150 years ago, to be both colonist and conservationist

University Bookshop Otago


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