Story: Social sciences

Kenneth Cumberland in Landmarks, 1981

Kenneth Cumberland arrived in New Zealand as a young geographer in 1938, having been appointed lecturer in the new geography programme at Canterbury University College. One of his early achievements, alongside his colleague George Jobberns, was establishing geography at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for arts and science degrees. In 1946 Cumberland became senior lecturer in geography at Auckland University College, where he had been invited to set up a geography department. He remained there until his retirement in 1978.

Cumberland was instrumental in creating resources about New Zealand geography for New Zealand students, and he wrote the first school atlas. He became a household name in 1981 as presenter of the major television series Landmarks. It was the perfect opportunity for Cumberland to share his interest in human geography and his fascination with the rapid pace of human-made change in New Zealand. In this clip from the episode 'A land apart', Cumberland describes his work on Landmarks as 'one of the most memorable experiences of my life'.

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How to cite this page:

Peter Clayworth, 'Social sciences - Foundation and growth, 1945 to 1970s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 27 November 2021)

Story by Peter Clayworth, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 1 Jun 2015