Media Release – July 5, 2004
New Zealand is well positioned to create landscapes to make tourists and residents well cared for until the world energy price roll over hits in six to 10 years time, a world expert in landscape architecture Rob Thayer said today.
Professor Thayer has been in New Zealand on a foundation scholarship for a three week study, research and speaking tour. He arrived in Auckland on June 14 and returns home to northern California on Friday.
He said the energy price rollover will signal the day when oil becomes “way too expensive and tourism may have a problem in New Zealand’’.
Prof Thayer is the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects’ first Education Foundation scholar. He has spoken in nine New Zealand cities and towns, has met top landscape architects and talked to government ministers.
He said the dramatic scenic land in New Zealand for people who lived here and for visitors was of immense and almost of immeasurable value.
“As New Zealand moves into the future and becomes more self-sufficient in energy, water and food, the concept of landscape beauty will increase.
“New Zealand has some interesting decisions on building wind farms. There are both good and bad examples in the world of wind energy development. The European wind farms are better than the early US ones.
“New Zealand could learn a lot from the Danes. If I were the Minister of Environment I would appoint landscape architects to do a tour of European wind farms and see what they have done.’’
Prof Thayer said he was amazed at the uniformity of forest plantations and hoped scientists had figured out ways of coping with any disease striking pinus radiata forests.
“You have treated forests as cropland. In the US and Canada forests are regarded as eco-systems.
“New Zealand is making up its own kind of landscape as it goes along. New Zealand is a very impressive placed. Worrying too much about purity is pointless. Looking to best management practices is important and making sure soil erosion is curtailed.’’
Prof Thayer is a world renowned landscape architect with particular expertise in and passion for ecology and cultural landscapes. He is emeritus professor of landscape architecture at the University of California, Davis.
He spoke in Auckland, Whangarei, Rotorua, Taupo, Hastings, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch and Dunedin. He visited many publicly important landscape sites, such as Taranaki Wharf and Oriental Parade in Wellington which won the supreme trophies at the NZILA 2004 annual awards. He also visited other places undergoing rapid growth, such as Queenstown and Wanaka.