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Seeping Ugly

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posted on 2021-04-06, 21:46 authored by Louisson, Charles

This thesis examines the human experience of encountering manifestations of historical pollution from the Houghton Bay legacy landfill in Wellington New Zealand. While much scholarship has already been dedicated to researching the broad characteristics of environmental victims, there exists a gap within the literature regarding the specific human experiences of historical pollution within urban contexts. This thesis tells the experiential stories of the Houghton Bay residents and their encounters with the landfill and examines their efforts to have overseeing institutions acknowledge their victimization. Through the examination of institutional documents, scientific evidence, visual illustrations and ten qualitative interviews with Houghton Bay residents, the research constructs a holistic view of how a deliberately confused and obfuscated informational landscape concerning a case of historical pollution can not only inhibit institutional acknowledgement of the experience of becoming and living as an environmental victim, but exasperate it. The thesis concludes that the human experience of historical pollution within urban settings is complicated by means of state and corporate propagated agnosis and ainigmology, and that in that process the question of ‘who is responsible’ becomes evident.


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

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Institute of Criminology

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Social and Cultural Studies


Monod de Froideville, Sarah; MacKenzie, Simon