Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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An Argument for Co-Dependency: A Critique of Rewilding and Conventional Conservation

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posted on 2023-10-01, 00:10 authored by Haydn Davenport-Brown

Rewilding and conventional conservation are two competing conservation methods looking to preserve and halt the rapid decline of biodiversity. In this thesis I seek to identify the best conservation method. I argue for my solution of a “co-dependency”, due to the critiques I have against rewilding and conventional conservation and their respective philosophical values.

Rewilding is a conservation style that seeks the removal of human control, and advocates animal reintroductions and experimentation. Conventional conservation is simply the type of conservation presently regulated and enforced by New Zealand’s government law.

I argue that rewilding is paradoxical, and that some of its values taken too far exclude people who most depend on the landscape. The critique I have against government conservation is centered around the values of national parks, and I use the national parks of New Zealand as a case example. National parks are based on historical values created around the assumption that preserving large, scenic landscapes is of importance. But these values, akin to rewilding, have driven people from their homes and from the landscape itself, which has caused biodiversity to decline.

This continues systemically into the present day, with conventional conservation not being able to protect the biodiversity they were created to save by preventing direct management of the land. A co-dependency depends on the thought that as humans rely on nature, as does nature rely on humans for its flourishing. Any type of landscape can manifest this relationship, and the environments I argue best do so are the traditional landscapes of Europe. I show that some elements of rewilding and conventional conservation can be used in my solution, and that the two conservation styles can improve if they change their current values to focus on co- dependency.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

CC BY-SA 4.0

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Keller, Simon