The Queen’s Birthday Honours last weekend recognised nine people for services to conservation and the environment. We celebrate their achievements by shining the spotlight on them!
Knight Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit
Sir Rob Fenwick
Long time environmental champion Rob Fenwick has been awarded a knighthood for his services to conservation, science and business.
His current work includes driving the Predator Free New Zealand programme, chairing the Kiwis for Kiwi trust and ongoing advocacy and support for a myriad of conservation initiatives at both a landscape and local level – including on his home base of Waiheke Island.
Sir Rob has worked closely with DOC on many projects, including advising DOC on its strategic partnership direction, and is a familiar face supporting conservation issues around the boardrooms of New Zealand.
Sir Rob has also been closely associated with the Antarctic through is his terms as Chairman of Antarctica New Zealand and in initiating the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute to conduct high quality environmental science on the ice.
The award recognizes Sir Robert’s role as a business leader – through his work with Living Earth, the country’s first and largest organic waste processing company and in setting up the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.
Sir Christopher Mace
Sir Christopher Mace, Chairman of NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) since 2009, was knighted for his work in science and education.
His environmental work was also recognized in particular his role in the development of Auckland University’s Leigh Marine Laboratory.
Sir Christopher has been closely associated with the Sir Peter Blake Trust and was a team leader of the Young Blake expeditions to the Kermadecs in 2012 and the subantarctic islands in 2014.
He continues to serve on the Antarctic Heritage Trust board.
New Zealand Order of Merit
Massey University’s Professor Maurice Alley has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his scientific and educational work in wildlife conservation.
During his 47 years at Massey’s veterinary and animal sciences schools, Dr Alley has helped in the research and recovery of many endangered species, including kiwi, kakapo, kea, hoiho, kaka, and tuatara.
DOC regularly calls on Maurice Alley for his forensic expertise and he has published hundreds of scientific papers and articles in his specialist field.
Gerald (Gerry) Brackenbury
Former DOC staff member, Gerry Brackenbury has received an New Zealand Order of Merit for his conservation work in Whangarei and the wider Northland region.
Gerry Brackenbury was a founder of the Northern branch of Royal Forest and Bird Societyand the driving force behind the project for turning Motu Matakohe/Limestone Island into a refuge for bio-diversity.
Mr Brackenbury has also been closely involved in Project Crimson’s work to conserve pohutukawa and rata.
Dr Andrew (Andy) Dennis
Dr Andrew Dennis played a lead role in the campaigns in the 1970s and 1980s to protect West Coast forests from logging and in the creation of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area and the Paparoa National Park.
His book ‘The Paparoas Guide’ is still today recognised as the definitive guide to the Paparoa Range.
He also worked to establishment of Kahurangi National Park and was instrumental in helping to protect the Mokihinui River from being dammed.
Dr Dennis has served on both the Nelson Marlborough Conservation Board and the Federated Mountain Clubs executive.
Andy Lowe has been the driving force in the establishment of the Cape Sanctuary wildlife restoration project on the Cape Kidnappers peninsula.
Andy Lowe inspired landowners, iwi, government departments, local bodies and volunteers to help set up the Sanctuary, which covers more than 2,500 hectares and now contains the most diverse range of endangered wildlife species on mainland coastal New Zealand.
The Sanctuary has proven that endangered species, human habitation, food production and recreation can co-exist sustainably.
Working with DOC and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Andy has helped broaden this work into the Cape to City project encompassing 26,000 hectares.
Tina Porou has been recognised for her services to both Māori and conservation.
Her advocacy work for kaitiakitanga in business spans fisheries, farming, energy, climate change and forestry.
She has worked as an advisor to Ngāti Porou on freshwater and as a member of the Ngāti Turangitukua Environmental Committee. She has held a range of resource management roles managing and protecting important national taonga like the Waiapu River, the Tongariro River, Lake Taupo and the Waikato River.
She was integral in creating the only two Joint Management agreements that currently exist between local council and Iwi in both Ngāti Porou and Ngati Tūwharetoa.
Kevin Prime has been a foundation komiti member of Ngā Whenua Rahui since 1990 and has been awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to Māori and conservation.
Kevin is well known for his restoration work in the North and in particular his work on the Ngāti Hine kereru restoration programme.
He is currently Chair of the local steering group for the Reconnecting Northland project, the first large-scale ecological restoration programme in New Zealand focusing on the wellbeing of people and the land.
Kevin has also served as Chair of the Te Kahui Māori Advisory Bio-Heritage National Science Challenge.
Queen’s Service Medal
Bruce Tuanui has been awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for conservation for his work in helping to fence and covenant lands to provide habitat for Chatham Island bird species.
He has worked closely with the programme for the critically endangered taiko (magenta petrel) and led the construction of predator proof fences for both taiko and Chatham Islands albatross.
Bruce has also worked on the regeneration of Mangere Island, which included planting up to 100,000 native trees over 17 years.