New Zealanders historically have a strong connection with the environment - from its aboriginal roots to the dawn of one of the earliest attempts at wildlife conservation in a British colony. Its exceptionally high level of endemism with species found nowhere else on the planet, as well as its reputation as being the ‘Isle of Birds’ make it a fascinating site for investigation.

This project seeks to define the role of the Landscape conservationist - to expand the ever-increasing definition of the profession of landscape architecture. To offer our contribution as designers to the field of life sciences that work with landscapes as their primary object of inquiry. In bringing the process of landscape making and planning as an integral part of conservation efforts for threatened species habitats, this thesis re-imagines what designing for species conservation as an ameliorative act to the disturbance brought on to sensitive ecologies in the Anthropocene could look like.

By exploring how human migration triggered some of the largest extinction events in recent record history on one of the last true wildernesses of the world - Aotearoa or New Zealand, this project is an attempt to create a framework for conservation and species rehabilitation planning through remote analysis and design.

Akshai Wilkinson, MLA ’20


LA 8900 Master’s Thesis

Joshua Cerra, Faculty Advisor

Anne Weber, Faculty Advisor


Fall 2020