After attending university for the first time in 1969, Robert Peden spent 25 years shepherding and managing high country sheep stations in the South Island of New Zealand. He returned to university in 1999, completing an Honours and a Master's degree in history at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, before moving to the University of Otago and tackling a PhD under Professor Tom Brooking on the agricultural transformation of New Zealand's tussock grasslands. His thesis won Otago University's formal recognition as an "exceptional" in 2007. in 2009, Dr Peden was awarded a Claude McCarthy Fellowship which allowed him to complete turning his thesis into his first book, Making Sheep Country: The Transformation of the Tussock Lands, to be published by Auckland University Press in May 2010. Now an independent historian based in Christchurch, he has been a Researcher/Writer for Treaty of Waitangi claims and has worked on Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand, for which he wrote sections for Theme 4, The Settled Landscape, on Fire and Agriculture, Beef Farming, Farm Fencing, Farming in the Economy, Agricultural Education, and Rabbits and co-wrote the section on Sheep Farming.
Dr Peden is a member of the Professional Historians' Association of New Zealand/Aotearoa (PHANZA) and of the Australia & New Zealand Environmental History Network.
After 25 years shepherding and managing sheep stations in the South Island of New Zealand, Robert Peden completed a PhD thesis, recorded as `exceptional', at the University of Otago, Dunedin, in 2007. In 2009 he was awarded a Claude McCarthy Fellowship. Now an independent historian (www.robertpedenresearch.co.nz), Peden has recently worked on Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand and researched Treaty of Waitangi claims. Making Sheep Country is his first book.
Preface: First the Squatter, then the Runholder, after that the Farmer -- 1. The Pastoral Frontier: Occupying the Grasslands -- 2. Indiscriminate Burning? Fire as a Management Tool -- 3. "Rabbits on the Brain" -- 4. Overstocking, Overgrazing, Sheep Numbers and Stock Loading -- 5. Constructing the Landscape: Fencing, Cultivation, Oversowing and Drainage -- 6. Sheep Breeding: Shaping Sheep to Suit the Land -- 7. "Not Much of a Business" -- 8. Conclusion: Appraising Preconceptions, Prejudice and Proof -- Bibliography -- Index.