Scenery preservation 1903-1953

Page 4 – Pressure groups

Pressure groups

Kennedy's Bush

Kennedy's Bush

Between the 1880s and the 1920s local scenery preservation societies and other pressure and interest groups became active. Most scenery preservation societies were urban and focussed on the maintenance of town belts and urban reserves, such as Christchurch's Kennedy's Bush.

Others had broader interests. In 1898 the Nelson Society called for the creation of a national park in the Rai Valley. This was New Zealand's first major public campaign to create a national park.

Late in the 19th century the Polynesian Society and individuals such as historian Robert McNab, who was later minister of lands, called for the reservation of historic and prehistoric sites. Their motivations were as varied as those of the scenery preservationists: notions of identity, scientific importance and tourism value. As walking and picnicking grew in popularity, the picturesque romance associated with historic sites appealed to many people.