Hero photograph
Paul Bensemann, author of "Fight for the Forests"
Photo by Paul Bensemann

Paul Bensemann -‘Fight for the Forests’

Wild Dunedin —

On Sunday 10 October at 3pm at Otago Museum meet author Paul Bensemann in a panel discussion on our native forests hosted by broadcaster Alison Ballance. 'Fight for the Forests' tells of the 1970s conservation campaigns, the people and the strategies undertaken to save the forests we treasure today.

Fight for the Forests by Paul Bensemann, Potton & Burton, 2019 — Image by: Potton & Burton Publishers

Paul Bensemann’s well-researched and beautifully illustrated history of the long campaign to protect our native forests includes a chapter on the nine months in 1976/77 when he worked as a clerk in the Forest Service Head Office in Wellington. He applied for the job so he could leak confidential information to conservation groups.

There was no Official Information Act then, and the activists and scientists who opposed the destruction of native forests were sceptical of the rationale behind Forest Service plans to log vast areas and replant with pine. So they leaked confidential papers to the media.

An example of some of the artwork used to get the campaign out to the public. — Image by: Native Forest Action Council

This was one of many strategies to make Kiwis aware of the threat to our forests and their wildlife, including tree-top camping when protesters hid in the tops of trees where forestry crews were working.

 It’s an inspirational book that reveals the personalities, struggles and sacrifices of the many dedicated people involved in these lengthy and difficult campaigns.

From the Epilogue, a fine example of the superb writing in this book.

You wonder, when holding a kiwi, if there is anything so soft in the world. Its feathers are fine and silky and seem to radiate warmth, and the bird’s frame is so delicate and light, it cannot be cuddled like a teddy bear, but on its back, in two upturned hands, as if a human baby. The long beak and claws look sharp and dangerous, yet you are more likely to feel shrivelled remnant wings and a tiny beating heart. Over centuries, when threats came from the sky and especially the now-extinct native eagles, the kiwi learned to freeze and not to fight. Against dogs, wild cats and ferrets it has little defence.

♥Thank you to publishers Potton & Burton who have provided a copy of this book for a lucky winner on the night. 

Cost: FREE

No booking required.