Kua hinga te tōtara i Te Waonui a Tāne – Colin Ryder
(A tōtara has fallen in the great forest of Tāne).
Wellington’s conservation community was shocked to learn that Colin Ryder died unexpectedly on 9 March 2021 as a result of an accident. Colin was the driving force behind a number of prominent conservation projects over more than 30 years.
Colin was a passionate environmentalist, who never let the word “no” stop him. “What couldn’t Colin squeeze money out of for conservation? Talk about LEGEND!” When he heard about rat eradication on Codfish Island he put forward the idea of eradicating mice on Mana. He made it happen.
In 2010 Colin Ryder led a community effort to protect the land at Baring Head as a Regional Park. Since then, he raised over $400,000 to support restoration of the lighthouse complex and natural values of the park, and oversaw the design of the historic restoration and interpretation projects. He ran a trap line, painted buildings, did talks to groups, and dozens of other jobs over the past 10 years.
He, with others, also made many other big projects happen around Wellington including the creation of the Taputeranga Marine Reserve, protection of the Watts Peninsula, species translocation to Mana Island, goat proof fencing around a large Karori QEII Covenant, helping set up the Guardians of the Kapiti Marine Reserve, and so much more.
Colin also was treasurer or on the management team for many of these projects. He spent hundreds of hours on grant application preparation and related work. In typical Colin fashion, many projects were discussed over a glass of beer and costs rapidly assembled. The Baring Head restoration plan was written and costed over a Christmas holiday period. He needed the plan in a hurry so he could apply for funding. He got the money.
“There was nothing that could stop Colin on a roll and bureaucrats were no match. Everyone who cares about NZ biodiversity, owes Colin a huge amount for his vision, tenacity, passion, humour and the results he got.”
Colin’s funeral will be on 29 March at 2pm at old St. Paul’s in Wellington. It will be live-streamed as well. Colin’s family have asked that donations be provided to a Baring Head project Colin wanted to see achieved, in lieu of flowers.
Baring Head: Support Colin Ryder’s Restoration Dream
Posted: 22 March 2021