Lecture: The Meaning of Nature and Landscape in New Zealand


Lecture by Eveline Dürr (Professor for Ethnology, LMU Munich)

New Zealand is primarily associated with stunning landscapes and a way of life harmonized with nature, far removed from the “dirt” and noise of a globalized world. These perceptions are by no means new. They characterized the image of New Zealand already in the 19th century. In this lecture the meaning of naturalness and proximity to nature is presented and illuminated with a view to New Zealand’s former settler society. The relevance of these notions for the current self-understanding of the island’s inhabitants will be discussed as well. In the context of contemporary modern society the impact of these representations still plays an important role in the national identity of the South Pacific Island, which is defined by immigration and economic globalization.

Eveline Dürr has been Professor for Ethnology at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich since 2008. Her research focuses on the perception of nature and the environment, and specifically the cultural identity and representation of New Zealand, where she lived and worked for many years.