Fighting the good fight, Philip Simpson

Fight for the Forests
Paul Bensemann
Potton and Burton, $70.00,
ISBN 9780947503130

This book is a marvellous chronicle of the people, the campaigns, the sorrows and sacrifices and, ultimately, the achievement to protect New Zealand’s unique publicly owned native forests. Set within the context of a brilliant overview by one of the fighters, Craig Potton, Paul Bensemann takes us through each campaign, in astonishing detail. The endnotes themselves are a valuable historical resource. It is a book that should have been written years ago, because it lays a platform for the next phase – to actually secure the health of the forests. This is alluded to in the author’s epilogue, which describes the inspiring army of restoration volunteers and the many small ecological successes. But he is sceptical, too, and the whole movement could slip away as social pressures build and money for pest control tightens. His book, however, is a peg in the ground that encourages success.

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