The greatest success stories of the modern environmental movement in New Zealand were the public campaigns to save our native forests, beginning in the 1960s with the battle to stop Lake Manapouri being drowned. By 2000, all the significant lowland forest in South Westland had become part of a World Heritage Area, the beech forests of the West Coast had largely been protected, Paparoa National Park had been established, the magnificent podocarp forests of Pureora and Whirinaki in the central North Island had been saved from the chainsaw, and many other smaller areas of forest had been included into the conservation estate.
Fight for the Forest tells this remarkable story, how a group of young activists became aware of government plans to mill vast areas of West Coast beech forest, and began campaigning to halt this. From small beginnings, a much larger movement grew, mainly centred around the work of the Native Forests Action Council, whose young, committed and extremely capable conservationists tapped into huge public support and changed the course of environmental history in this country.
Mainly based on interviews with key players, author Paul Bensemann has recorded a largely untold but significant and inspiring history, one that reminds us that change for good is always possible.