Story: Economic history

Deforestation of New Zealand

The extent to which human beings have exploited the natural resources of New Zealand is dramatically illustrated in this map. Before people arrived about 80% of the land mass was covered in trees. In the 500 years before 1840, Māori burnings, and the first forestry by Europeans in the search for naval spars, had reduced the bush by 6.7 million hectares. Then over the next 160 years another 8 million hectares were cleared of trees.

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How to cite this page:

Brian Easton, 'Economic history - First European economies', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 15 June 2021)

Story by Brian Easton, published 11 Mar 2010