Why Do We Care About Indigenous Plants?

October 2016
Thu 27th



5.30pm – 7.00pm




Why Do We Care About Indigenous Plants? Decolonisation, Gardening and Identity in the former British Southern Hemisphere

Presented by Dr. Brett M. Bennett (Senior Lecturer, Western Sydney University, Australia)

Chartwell Room, Hamilton Gardens


This talks explores why contemporary residents of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa are so passionate about conserving indigenous ecosystems and plants. It argues that English-speaking people of British background in these three countries embraced indigenous plants in the late-1960s and 1970s as part of the construction of new national values and identities caused by their decolonisation from Britain. The presentation goes on to link decolonisation with the rise of distinct environmental movements and ideas in the British Southern Hemisphere that continue to inform government policy, academic research and public attitudes towards nature to this day.

Brett M. Bennett holds appointments as a Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Western Sydney University and Senior Research Associate, University of Johannesburg. Bennett is the author of Plantations and protected areas: a global history of forest management (MIT Press, 2015), co-author with Frederick J. Kruger of Forestry and water conservation in South Africa: history, science, policy (ANU Press, 2015), and author of over 20 articles and chapters. Currently he is examining the history of environmental attitudes, management policies and ecological changes relating to indigenous and exotic natures in Africa, Asia, and Australasia.

This free public talk is co-hosted by the Environmental History & Garden History Research Unit (EHGH), Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Waikato and the Hamilton Gardens. The talk will be introduced by Director of the EH Research Unit, Associate Professor James Beattie.

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