Story: Landscapes – overview

A drowning landscape

A drowning landscape

The Marlborough Sounds, at the north-eastern corner of the South Island, are a drowning landscape. Their coastal river valleys are slowly sinking and being covered by the sea – one of the few land areas in New Zealand that is sinking rather than rising.

Denis Glover’s 1964 poem is a memory of summers spent in the Marlborough Sounds.

Summer, Pelorus Sound

There is always water.
Every track, half-road or hilltop
Throws a view of the labyrinthine
Seeping and effortless sea
Undulant, insidious, creeping
Round hill and promontory
Unexpectedly.

From the sea, from the boat’s deck
Name if you can which lead, which premised peak
Will open up, starboard or port,
The winding road you seek
Of the sea.

Permission to reproduce poem courtesy of Denis Glover literary estate and Pia Glover.

Using this item

GNS Science
Reference: 10381/28
Photograph by Lloyd Homer

Permission of GNS Science must be obtained before any use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Landscapes – overview - Top of the South Island', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/13012/a-drowning-landscape (accessed 24 May 2019)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 24 Sep 2007, updated 1 Jul 2015