Mackenzie Basin Drylands Park

Lincoln University
THE QUESTION
The shape of our national parks are the legacy of 19th-century landscape concepts. As Geoff Park describes it national parks tend to be perceived as places where culture stops and nature starts; culture is supressed, nature is ‘preserved’ as a terra nullius. In our examination of the Mackenzie Basin we explore ways conservation parks might be better integrated within our places of recreation and production (and vice versa).
THE OUTCOME
The highly innovative and collaborative Mackenzie Agreement forms the inspiration for this project. In it we suggest alternative scenarios that uses seven distinct drivers to distribute across the region its environmental social cultural and economic potential.

Collaborating with students and design researchers

To explore the possibilities of combining protective and productive land uses, the design research process involved twelve senior landscape architecture students working with the three themes identified in the agreement: conservation, protection and tourism.

The default option: a stand alone conservation park
A distributed park, with distributed ownership
Protecting and connecting along the rivers and lakes / a path across the basin
Reducing impacts / opportunities for tourism activity / canal water farming
The default option: a stand alone conservation park A distributed park, with distributed ownership Protecting and connecting along the rivers and lakes / a path across the basin Reducing impacts / opportunities for tourism activity / canal water farming

Multiple drivers – Designing with Multifunctionality

Seven drivers that could act as agents to direct and programme open-ended changes in the landscape were developed and speculatively mapped to show ways these could be spatially expressed in the region.

Phased protection

Conjectural map suggesting the evolution of a distributed Drylands Park. It reveals a fractal-like complexity that can strengthen values of multifunctionality at both regional and local levels.

100% Mackenzie Country

Images of the Mackenzie Basin that would fit within Tourism New Zealand’s branding were broken down into constituent parts. For instance, a single image of a ‘100% Mackenzie Country’ can be understood as an integrated mix of protected waterways, dryland pasture, public access and high country farming.