Arno Gasteiger

The stuff of life

New Zealand has a higher rainfall per capita than any country in the world. It turns the turbines of energy generation, it fuels our dairy exports, and our tourism industry depends on clean, green experiences touted in brochures. How do we utilise this great resource while protecting it for the future?

Science & Environment

Troubled waters

Swimmable rivers or more hooves on pastures—is there a way of improving water quality without paralysing the primary sector? Or has agriculture reached an environmental tipping point?

Science & Environment

Water, our vital asset

Water, our most precious natural asset, offers amenity, a habitat for aquatic species and a focus for recreation. But it also turns the turbines of industry and powers New Zealand’s agricultural economy. Economic development and environmental integrity are at odds in a struggle for control over this great resource. Are we mortgaging our future for a little more economic growth?

RNZ - The Rutherford Lectures

Audio: Rivers

Dame Anne Salmond explores the radical nature of the settlement between the Whanganui River iwi and the Government signed in August 2014, recognising the river as a legal person in its own right.

Geography

Habitat: Wetlands

Dismissed as worthless, pestilent places, wetlands—where the water table is at or near the Earth’s surface—are anything but. They purify water, prevent floods and erosion, store carbon, provide resources like peat and flax, process nutrients, act as nurseries and offer recreation and aesthetic value.

Science & Environment

Natural values

For 200 years the Hauraki Plains and Firth of Thames have been bent to the commercial interests of man. Today, the region is a case study for the carrying capacity of land and sea. How resilient are our natural systems, and how much development is too much?

RNZ - Smart Talk

Audio: Water Crisis

A panel of experts discusses the challenges of managing water resources in New Zealand. Includes include Professor John Montgomery, the Chair of Marine Science; the ecologist Dr Marjorie van Roon; and Dr Alys Longley, a lecturer in Dance Studies.

Society

Industry: Food production

Most of New Zealand’s lowland areas are now devoted to food production. How we produce food for consumption, sale and export continues to shape our landscape and lives. Can farmers improve yields and use resources more efficiently? Can consumers reconnect with the land and farm practices to make more informed choices and reduce waste? What is the future of our food?

Waitaha River: Utility vs intrinsic values

Morgan Gorge, a spectacular chasm on the South Island’s West Coast, is a showpiece of whitewater power. If the Minister of Conservation grants a concession to electricity company Westpower to build a hydro-generation scheme on the Waitaha River, Morgan Gorge will be reduced to a trickle for much of the year. Opponents say this would be an environmental tragedy and a cultural loss, supporters suggest it's the best use of the resource...

Geography

Slaking the Big Thirst

Auckland is a thirsty city. It has always been that way. Whether water is required for washing the car, water­ing the garden, taking a shower or just a making a cuppa, Auckland’s demand seems insatiable.

Society

Marlborough: Fine and Dry

The weather forecasts for central Marlborough had a monotonous sameness last summer, as El Nino kept clouds away and turned pastures to brick. Sheep farmers like Ted Kearney (whose Atacama Station is named after the driest place on Earth) were forced to sell stock and feed straw and pellets to their remaining animals. Elsewhere in the district, which these days defines itself more by wine than by wool, the drought brought better fortunes.

Living World

Industry: Milk

Milk has long been a favourite with Kiwi kids and their parents, and proponents of agricultural production. The dairy industry in the country's largest, accounting for 20 per cent of export income, and New Zealand dairy products make up almost a third of the global dairy trade.

Science & Environment

Industry: Mechanised farming

Modern agriculture’s rhythms are urgent, its scale corporate. Driving across the Canterbury plains today there are futuristic grain research stations, slick billboards promoting yield-boosting technologies, and the now-ubiquitous centre-pivot irrigators that extend 500 metres like pylons brought to earth.