The Political Science Program at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMU-K), with the assistance of the University’s Division of International Studies & Programs, is pleased to introduce its Pacific Studies Program 2015 - a collaborative initiative between A&M-Kingsville and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand. The Pacific Studies Program (PSP) is being co-directed by Dr. Nirmal Goswami, Professor of Political Science, TAMU-K and Dr. Elaine Webster, Director, Summer School and Continuing Education, University of Otago. The PSP will include graduate and undergraduate students traveling to and staying in New Zealand in July of 2015, attending classes at the University of Otago, and visiting multiple sites through field trips in the greater Otago region. Areas of focus include history, politics, economics, culture, sustainability and environmental policies, etc., with reference to both the greater Pacific region and New Zealand. You are all invited to cyber travel with us as we learn about the uniqueness of New Zealand and the surrounding region. This blog will document our experience. You are welcome to post comments.

Hoggies NZ Slideshow

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sustainability in Agriculture

Our second class, by Prof. Tom Brooking, was about the Politics of Sustainability in New Zealand Agriculture. Professor Brooking discussed the cultural anthropology of New Zealand as well as the many ecological challenges  the country faced. He also emphasized current issues New Zealanders are facing. One such issue relates to the trade-offs between the quality of land/water sustainability and profit margins. Many farmers are faced with a choice of expanding production but compromising the quality of their product. As a result, some farmers have chosen to stay local and rely on local clientele to retain the integrity of their products. Another current issue is the rise of international investors investing in New Zealand and driving up the prices of local real estate. However, these investments are largely speculative and do not lead to sustainable and productive usage of land resources.  He also emphasized the importance of traditional family farms and the necessity of supporting them for both economic and cultural reasons. Many New Zealand citizens have adapted to difficult economic circumstances by looking into multiple ways of utilizing their assets, for example, wives of farmers generate extra income by taking in tourists, growing flowers, or designing clothing. An emerging issue that has had a major impact on New Zealand  agriculture was the introduction of synthetics as a substitute for wool. Since synthetics are so cheap, the New Zealand wool industry has been greatly, and negatively, affected by this. 

-Clarissa A. 

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