The next public talk will be at 7.30 pm on Tuesday 7 October 2014 at Rotary Hall, Aotaki Street. The speaker will be Catherine Knight, talking about her new book, Ravaged Beauty: An Environmental History of the Manawatu. Catherine will begin with a brief introduction of the field of environmental history, before taking the audience on an historical and geographical journey through the Manawatu, a region transformed from a “forested hinterland” only a century and a half ago to the pastoral province it is today. Focusing on the Manawatu River as a defining feature of the region, this journey will begin with the settlement of the first people on the Manawatu coast several hundred years ago (the moa hunters), arriving finally in the familiar pastoral landscape that we know today. It examines how people have shaped the environment, and what the repercussions of those changes have been. Like other forms of history, knowledge of our environmental past has inherent value, but its real value lies in how it informs our decisions today to avoid the mistakes of the past.