|Institution:||University of Otago|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/10523/5479|
Two proposals were put forth between 1974 and 1983 to build an aluminium smelter at Aramoana, near Dunedin. These proposals garnered widespread opposition from local residents, environmental protest groups and the wider New Zealand public. This thesis focuses on one of the most prominent groups, the Save Aramoana Campaign (SAC), founded in 1974. The 'organisational approach' to environmental history outlined by Frank Uekoetter underpins the methodology in an attempt to move away from the body of work which perpetuates teleological histories of environmental degradation and blame. The thesis examines who opposed the smelter proposals, why, and how they organised for reform. SAC and the Public Submissions to the Commission for the Environment are used as case studies. It is argued that environmental concerns; local, intimate and immediate as well as wider, national and long-term, were paramount amongst opponents. Apprehension over economic, social values and democratic concerns, however, was also apparent. Rationales and methods of organisation for supporters of the smelter are also examined. Ultimately, it is argued that the smelter controversy operated on two levels; first as a small site-specific controversy and second as one strand of the wider contemporaneous debate concerning the future direction of New Zealand society.