Waikanae nature crusader dies

06:26, Apr 17 2012
Peter McKenzie
Nga Manu Nature Reserve founder Peter McKenzie.

The founder of Waikanae's Nga Manu Nature Reserve, Peter McKenzie, has died, aged 59.

Mr McKenzie founded Nga Manu in 1974, preserving the last large remnant of lowland coastal swamp forest on the Kapiti Coast.

Over the years he developed the reserve and became heavily involved with many recovery programmes to boost threatened native species.

He was involved with the Tuatara Recovery Programme for more than 20 years with over 1000 tuatara going through Nga Manu over the years for translocation.

In the mid 70s he spearheaded captive kiwi breeding programmes, setting the standard for breeding kiwis in institutions. A lot of his methods are still used today.

Mr McKenzie was also involved in the blue duck and brown teal recovery programmes and established a recovery programme for native mistletoe.

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His interest in wildlife photography saw him launch Nga Manu Images producing photos used in many conservation publications.

He captured a puriri moth hatching on camera, which is still available on You Tube. Nga Manu manager Bruce Benseman described Mr McKenzie as an all round good bloke with a passion for conservation.

"He inspired thousands of people to go down the conservation path with many pursuing careers in conservation,'' Mr Benseman said.

Mr McKenzie had been suffering from cancer. He is survived by his wife Ruth. The couple have two sons.

The Dominion Post